6th Grade Statistics Project: Zombie Outbreak

I created this project as a way for my 6th graders to practice their statistical skills. They loved it! They get to pretend to be epidemiologists studying a virus outbreak that is turning people into zombies. It’s a fantastic way for students to see how statistics is used in the “real world” – they were also very interested to learn about the field of epidemiology.

The Project: Students pretend to be epidemiologists investigating a zombie outbreak occurring in the United States. Students apply their statistical skills to determine:

  • Where the virus is originating
  • Which patients are likely to become zombie
  • Which symptoms are most common

Students practice:

-creating dot plots and bar graphs
-describing the distribution of data
-determining the mean and mode
-evaluating the usefulness of the measure of central tendency based on the data’s distribution

Here is a link to all of the materials you need, including the answer key which was made by Friederike Kolbe, a teacher who used this activity with her class.

 Printing:

  • Print pg 3-8 for each student.
  • Print a set of data for each student or each pair of students:
  • Print BOTH maps for each student or each pair of students. (The maps will help students figure out which region each state belongs in.)

Tips:

  • Start by explaining what epidemiologists do (get the kids to say the word aloud a few times!)
  • Dramatically introduce the Virus X Outbreak.Explain that the students are going to be epidemiologists investigating the outbreak
  • Introduce all of the materials: it’s helpful for kids to have access to highlighters
  • Tell them the CDC is counting on them

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