Education Technology

Reaction Time

Published on 10/14/2005

Activity Overview

The students will do experiments involving reaction time, and then make a histogram displaying their data

Before the Activity

  • Get supplies (a meter stick and a calculator for each group of 3 students)

  • Discuss what reaction time means. Review mean, median, mode, frequency distributions, and histograms.
  • During the Activity

    In each group of three students, there will be three roles: catcher, dropper, and recorder. One person will hold a meter stick at the 100 cm end. Another student will hold his thumb and forefinger open near the other end. The third student is the recorder.
    When the person holding the meter stick drops it, the other person catches it as quickly as possible. The number of millimeters on the stick just above the thumb and finger will represent the reaction time. A smaller number will represent a faster reaction time. Let each person be the catcher three times.
    The person's number will be the average of his three catches. Rotate roles until everyone has been the catcher. When all groups have completed their three catches per student, they should enter their numbers into L1 on their calculator.
    The teacher will collect their numbers with the Navigator, combine them, and send them back to each group. The students will then make a histogram using the plot menu. The teacher will use screen capture to examine the histograms.

    After the Activity

    Ask which interval represents the median? Which interval or intervals represent the mode? Using Stat Calc, X bar, compare the mean to the other measures of central tendency.