NHL hockey is a game of numbers—statistics that is. Fans may cheer on a team because of where they’re from, their team mascot, or the atmosphere of the stadium. Fans may like a certain player because of how hard he hits, how fast he skates, or how cute he is. But until you delve into the statistics of the players and the team overall, it’s impossible to tell who’s better.
Statistics are one way scientists, and hockey fans, can be objective about their conclusions. The numbers don’t lie. Unless, of course, you happen to have the same opinion as Mark Twain, who in his autobiography noted that there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
One thing that’s not a lie is the excitement this series of lesson packages will bring to your instruction! Although we have no statistics to back that up, take our word for it. For sure, NSTA, NBC Learn, and NSF wouldn’t lie to you. Get together with your team or colleagues in other departments and use The Science of NHL Hockey as a focus for end-of-year projects that can be independent of the dates you have to turn in textbooks and library access. Remember, the Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing during May every year. Plenty of statistics to work with there!
—Judy Elgin Jensen
Photo of NHL infographic by Darren Barefoot.
Video: “Statistics & Averages” shows that being a top goalie in the NHL takes more than quick reflexes and nerves of steel, it also requires a firm grip on the numbers—namely, the key averages and statistics of goaltending.
Middle school lesson: In this lesson, students explore numerical and nonnumerical data and design an investigation to find out more.
High school lesson: In this lesson, students will design and carry out an investigation to collect a set of data and find the mean, median, mode, and range of a set of data.
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