Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Genius at Work

My son, Tim, plays many roles. The photo shows his debut at third base last Friday. He did field the ground ball and made the out at first.

I'm not going to tell a baseball story tonight. Unlikely as it seems, I'm going to share a story about AP Statistics. Tim is a sophomore, but has always done well at math. The final assignment this year in his stats class was to design a study and perform it. A fair amount of work went into this, and they worked in pairs. Tim and a buddy decided to test whether colors of gummi bears are equally distributed in packages.

Tim is a gummi connoisseur. Gummi bears, worms, fish, and fruit are all fair game, although the gummi bear has the best surface to interior ratio, in his opinion. He even managed to eat these with braces!
First, they had to assure a random sample. Thanks to the internet, they were able to find out that all gummi manufacturers fill their bags randomly. They did some sample size analysis, purchased a sufficient sample size, and then got together during study hall to count their bears. After covering a table in the library with a newspaper, they poured all 4 pounds into the middle in a giant mountain of gummi. As they were dividing it into same-colored piles, the librarian inquired about their project. I believe the exact quote was "No food in the library!"

They finally convinced her that this was a legitimate homework project, and she consented to let them take the table into the hallway outside the library door. They counted up the bears and have now turned in a paper documenting that red gummi bears outnumber the others, while yellow ones are less common. I'm hoping to get a copy of the paper to post because someone out there needs to know this factoid!

OK, so you've finished your research project. Each boy now has 2 pounds of gummi bears... which each proceeded to eat! In ONE DAY. Tim has decided he doesn't need to see a gummi bear anytime soon.

This story was the funniest thing I heard for several days, so I thought I would share. Remember, these are the rewards of having a kid in an AP class!

Gummi Bears Photo: copyright PhotoXpress.com


  1. Great project! What was the actual count distribution? Was there any correlation between size and color?

  2. Tim has promised to send me the PowerPoint of the results to post here (he was actually delighted that I posted this story).
    Basically, red>green=clear=orange>yellow. Since the boys all feel that the red bears are best and the yellows taste the worst, they felt this distribution was appropriate.
    BTW, if you throw up after eating 2 pounds of gummi bears, the emesis resembles the interior portion of the clear ones. Guess the dyes get cleared quickly in the stomach...

  3. There are almost 1200 gummi bears in that 4 pound mound o' gummi...