1. Overview

This case study tackles something that affects people’s lives, liberties and happiness – the mismatch between real and perceived risk.

Pupils explore the risks of dying unexpectedly from various causes. They start from the fears they know and, by comparing them with real-life data, they recognise that these are often unfounded. Pupils learn how to calculate the risks involved for various activities and how these are related to the base risk of death for typical people of different ages and genders. The emphasis is on order-of-magnitude comparisons, reflecting the various kinds of variation in risk level between individuals and over time.

2. Mathematical content

Key Stage 3 National Curriculum areas covered include:

3. Organisation and pedagogy

This case study supports 5-6 one-hour lessons of classroom activity, interspersed with modest amounts of homework, organised into 4 stages. A mixture of class, group and individual work is involved. Stage 4 requires computers - the rest of the study is paper-based.

It is most suitable for pupils in Years 8 or 9. Stage 4 is more challenging mathematically than the first three, but is designed to be valuable in different ways to pupils at different levels.

4. Resources

This document provides the structure for the entire case study.

The Teacher's Guide looks best when printed double-sided, in colour, and bound into a booklet or ringbinder - but this is not compulsory. Some of the Handouts are best copied onto stiff paper and cut up into cards.

Running the software directly from this page requires Flash Player 8 or newer (see the software installers page for alternatives). PC users will need Adobe Reader to open the PDF files. Both can be downloaded from www.adobe.com.