“Do you prefer Pepsi or Coke?” Grade 6 and 7 students were asked that question last week during their science class. While many students had a favorite, their science lesson was designed to show them the importance of using a “blind study” when collecting data in order to reduce bias in their experiments.
To demonstrate the importance of understanding bias, students participated in a blind taste test using Pepsi and Coke.
To begin, students were asked if they prefer Coke, Pepsi, or if they have no preference. Next, each student was given two small, clearly labeled cups: one with Coke, one with Pepsi. Students had to look at the label, taste the drink, then state their preference. No students changed their preference when they tasted the drink after seeing the label.
In the second part of the test, each student was given two more cups. This time, however, the cups were labeled in a code only the teacher knew. After tasting the unlabeled soft drinks, about half the students changed their preference.
So what did they learn?
Students learned that our experimental observations can be biased because of our preconceived ideas of what we like and what is good. From this experiment Maria (grade 7) explained how surprised she was from the outcome, stating “You think you like one, but it turns out you like the other.”
Hands-on learning like this is the norm at WYIS. Actively involving students keeps them engaged and interested in the learning process. We call that a win, no matter your taste preference.
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September 23, 2020