Buck Institute for Education

Three Shots

Author: Mathalicious

What will my students be doing?

In Three Shots, students will compute the probabilities of a Memphis basketball team win, loss, or tie when fouled at the buzzer and explore this even further in two project tasks, To Foul or Not to Foul and That Is The Question.

What's Included:

  • Project Overview
  • Launch Activity & Lesson Guide
  • Project Tasks
  • Student Handouts
  • Teacher Guides
  • Interactive Media

Current Version: April 22, 2014

In the 2005 Conference-USA Tournament game, Memphis player Darius Washington Jr. was fouled at the buzzer during a three-point shot. With his team down by two to Louisville, he stepped up to the foul line for three shots.

In the launch activity of Three Shots, students will compute the probabilities of a win, loss, or tie for Memphis. They will also determine whether or not it was smart for Louisville to foul at the buzzer, and will investigate the conditions when fouling at the buzzer in a close game makes sense.

Students explore this even further in the project tasks, and can choose between two topics. In one task, they create a comprehensive picture that would allow someone to make the same “foul or not to foul” decision for any player, given his three-point percentage and foul-shot percentage.  In another, students will create decision charts for different end-of-game scenarios; for example, if the defensive team is only up by one point, or if the offensive team is attempting a field goal.



Project Notes

  • Subjects: Math
  • Grade Level: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Common Core Aligned
  • Time Required: <10 Hours
  • CC BY-NC

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FAQs

The World Is an Interesting Place. Math Class Should Be, Too.

At Mathalicious, we think the world is an interesting place full of interesting questions. Do people with small feet pay too much for shoes? Do taller Olympic sprinters have an unfair advantage? How have video game consoles changed over timeā€¦and are we building the Matrix?

We also think math class is the perfect place for students and teachers to explore questions like these, and that it can be the most interesting part of the day.

Project Documents

Project Author

Mathalicious creates lessons around real-world topics that help middle and high-school teachers address the Common Core while challenging their students to think more critically about the world. Lessons explore such questions as, Do people with small feet pay too much for shoes, and should Nike charge by weight? (unit rates), and How does memory deteriorate over time, and how much can you trust it? (exponential decay). For more information, or to view its growing library of lessons, please visit www.mathalicious.com.