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Forget March Madness! Students Test Probability Skills with March Randomness

1 May 2021 No Comment

This year, the ASA’s outreach campaign ThisIsStatistics launched a new contest for its annual spring challenge: March Randomness, a month-long competition that encouraged middle- and high-school students and college undergraduates to test their probability intuition skills.

March Randomness Winners
Throughout the month, 214 student teams competed with peers around the world. After 16 rounds of 24-hour exercises over four weeks, the winning teams are as follows:

Best Pre-College Teams
First Place: A Fraction Ahead, with Alaina Smith and Delfina Szigethy of Mt. Lebanon High School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Second Place: Elidia R, with Elidia Reyes of Wayne High School, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Third Place: Mathster’s Stupefying 1 Stars, with Molly, Miles, Stella, Trevor, Roman, Talon, Sam, Patrick, Myles, Beckley, Timothy, Will, Sarah, Reece, Laurel, Macy, and Sarah of Mariemont Junior High School, Fairfax, Ohio

Best Undergraduate Teams
First Place: SiegeChauffantDansLeMercobenz, with Scott McGuigan, Alexis Morel, Clément Verdier, and Chloé Le Chevalier of Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France

Second Place: Rah Prof. Aliyev!, with Yang Hsia, Nicolas Shier, and Zachary Branner of Virginia Military Institute, Lexington City, Virginia

Third Place: Rambler, with Charles Hwang of Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois

Inspired by the Borel board game, the inaugural March Randomness challenge invited students to predict outcomes of daily probability experiments. Every Monday through Thursday throughout March, ThisIsStatistics posed a new experiment and asked students to predict the outcome. For example, “Flip a coin four times; will you get a head exactly once?”

To keep things interesting, ThisIsStatistics also asked the students to back up their prediction with a wager from their stash of “StatCoins.” After the betting window closed the next day, a celebrity statistician conducted the challenge experiment and revealed the official outcome on video. Teams watched their fortunes shrink and grow on the leaderboard as they competed with peers in their school or division—or even just against themselves.

Celebrity statisticians included Christoforos Anagnostopoulos from Borel, Lucy D’Agostino McGowan, Ellie Murray, Chris Franklin, Rob Santos, Wendy Martinez, John Bailer, Brittany Greene, Glen Colopy, Kathy Ensor, Roger Peng, Jenny Green, Emily Butler, Eunice Kim, Eric Laber, Claire Bowen, and Ron Wasserstein. Watch them bring their personal style to the probability experiments.

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