Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy

Urban Research 2012

The Urban Research class of 2012 asked the question: Does the city of Chicago treat some wards preferentially?

The students learn about the scientific method by conducting a research project in the city of Chicago. 

The goals for the students were to learn how to 1) design a research project, 2) collect data "in the field", 3) use statistics and graphing programs to analyze their data, and 4) present the data in a clear and compelling way. 

Student Data

Lesson Plan Overview: 

Class 1: Sampling a part to measure the whole 8 February 2012

Students were asked if they felt their school could accommodate an increase in the student body. Though they didn't feel crowded they were strongly against an increase in the school population. They determined the maximum number of students Lindblom could accommodate through a number of approximation methods. 

Class 2: Random sampling and introduction to statistics 29 February 2012

This class introduced the students to basic statistics and the different methods of random sampling using M&Ms. Students learned to calculate the error for a given population and sample size. They picked the best random sampling method to get an even distribution of sample sites across the city of Chicago.

Class 3: Defining the question and choosing wards 14 March 2012

The students decided to sample every third ward in Chicago (3, 6, 9, 12, etc). They then subdivided each ward into similar size regions and randomly chose one region within each ward using a random number generator. The students chose to measure trees, potholes, vacant lots, trashcans, and speed bumps in each region. Students also practiced how to explain their project if asked by residents in the ward regions during their field work. 

Class 4: Field work 21 March 2012

Students collected data in Wards 15, 27, 42, and 48

Class 5: Field work 25 April 2012

Students collected data in Ward 6 and 18

Class 6: Field work 2 May 2012

Students collected data in Wards 9, 21, 33, and 39

Class 7: Data analysis 9 May 2012

Class 8: Data analysis 18 May 2012

Class 9: Data visualization and presentation practice 23 May 2012

Class 10: Presentations 6 June 2012