SCIENCE ACTIVITY
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Death on the Road

Purpose

To use the Percentage Tutor by Quantum Simulations™ as a tool to analyze traffic fatality data.

Materials

Federal Highway Administration - United States Department of Transportation

The Story

On Wednesday, May 21, Kasey Travis, a teenager from Odessa, Texas, was jailed and charged with manslaughter in the death of her classmate Amber Goolsby. According to the official report, alcohol was a factor in the April 10th accident. Seventeen-year-old Amber Goolsby died at the scene after the car in which she was riding failed to stop at a stop sign, went airborne, and struck a tree.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is preparing to file charges against three individuals for providing the minors with alcohol. Odessa American 5/21/2003
As tragic as this accident was, it was only one of over 37,000 fatal traffic accidents that occur in the United States every year.
You know the statistics well. You are an investigator with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Your job is to analyze the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and prepare a report on traffic fatality trends.
Since raw data are difficult to analyze, you have decided to calculate percentages before you look for trends.

Procedure

Begin by opening the file containing National Traffic Fatality Statistics. (This is a Microsoft Word file.) Print a copy of the form to use as you complete this activity.
Note that the form has two parts. The upper portion contains raw numbers (some of the larger numbers have been rounded off to reflect their lack of precision). The lower portion of the form is a chart that you must complete.
To complete the lower chart, you must either calculate the percentage that one number is of another, or use a given percentage to calculate an unknown number.
Study the numbers in the upper chart and determine which ones you should use to make each calculation.
Try to complete the first column without any help. Then, use the Percentage Tutor to make sure that you are calculating correctly. If you are making mistakes, the Percentage Tutor will help you get the right answer. There are three different kinds of percentage problems that the Tutor can help you with.
The Percentage Tutor can be found at the web address that your teacher will provide to you.
When you have finished filling in the chart, examine it carefully. Do you see any trends--are percentages rising or falling over time, or is there no trend?
If you see any trends in the percentages you have calculated, you should circle or highlight the row in the lower chart that shows the trend.

Conclusion

Submit the "Fatal Accident Data Analysis Chart" to your supervisor (your teacher). Make sure that you have indicated any trends that you observe.
  
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