How a chocolate test makes maths fun

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Comet Bay College gifted and talented students Aiden Thomas, Joseph Tyrrell and Joseph Chapman, all Year 7, won the Statistical Society of Australia’s 2019 National Schools Poster Competition.
Camera IconComet Bay College gifted and talented students Aiden Thomas, Joseph Tyrrell and Joseph Chapman, all Year 7, won the Statistical Society of Australia’s 2019 National Schools Poster Competition.

A mathematically gifted group of students from Comet Bay College have won a national poster competition after using chocolate to test the placebo effect on their peers.

The three Year 7 students won the Statistical Society of Australia 2019 National Schools Poster Competition and took top honours in the college’s first year entering in the contest.

Joseph Tyrrell, Joseph Chapman and Aiden Thomas were praised for their investigation and poster, titled Testing the Placebo Effect (with chocolate).

The boys tested their peers’ chocolate preferences with mislabelled Cadbury samples and discovered people chose their favourites by brand rather than by taste.

Dean of mathematics Michelle Wood said it was a creative way to demonstrate their statistic investigations and processing skills.

“This is a fantastic competition which challenged our students to develop a hypothesis, collect data and test it, and then document and explain their findings,” she said.

“I am incredibly thrilled to see Comet Bay College leading the way in mathematics.

“Joseph, Joseph and Aiden did a remarkable job and should be extremely proud of their efforts.”

The win earned the boys $100 for their team and $100 for the college, and has put them in the running for the international title.

Joseph Chapman, 13, said he was surprised and excited by the win.

“It was really fun taking chocolate round to our friends to get the data we needed for this investigation,” he said.

“Projects like this make maths really fun.”

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