Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sports Statistics: Final Project and Final Reflections

My Sports Statistics just ended, and while I had dreams of continuing the class into the 3rd quarter of school (my school offers different classes each quarter in a quasi-college way), they died around winter break. The class was a huge disappointment for a number of reasons:
  1. Most of the students in the class were only superficially engaged in the class. Many didn't know what they signed up for and/or didn't want to be there. They were focused and working when they were there, but beyond getting the assignment done, there was little investment in what we were doing.
  2. Attendance was horrendous. The class ran twice a week, and there were many times when I had a completely different group of students from one class to the next. It's difficult to move on when you're in a constant state of catching up.
  3. The FSM-prescribed method of finding stats took too much time. I didn't think of a better method until winter break came around, so we stopped tallying additional stats as of December 16th.
  4. I didn't have the time to arrange things I wanted like guest speakers and field trips to connect our classwork to sports statistics in the real world. We weren't able to really use the stats in any meaningful way.
I create a simple final project for the course. I asked students to look back at the original player values we had used to select our initial fantasy basketball rosters. Using what we know now--near the halfway point of the season--they have to create the best possible team stat-wise using the same player values. I think it was a good way to bring things full circle.

In the end, I learned a lot, and would approach things differently if we started over. I see the value in this and will try to work it into my regular math classes as an ongoing, extra credit project. I enjoyed experimenting with something different, that's for sure. Click on the sports statistics tag for more posts about my experience with this course.