Risk and Probability in Division 4 MST

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By Division I Media & Journalism reporter Theo

In the last several weeks, Division 4 MST has been learning about risk and probability in their class with Josh. The aim of the unit is to educate them about the underlying risks in our everyday lives. They learned about methods of calculating and evaluating risks, along with methods of applying that math to the real world. The unit culminated in a paper on a topic discussing the potential risks and benefits of a given activity. The paper was interdisciplinary; they were required to do an ethical examination and an inquiry into the possible (or definite) health or environmental factors at play as well as a “hardnose cost/benefit analysis,” as Josh calls it. The students in class took this idea and ran with it. Although they all had a single prompt, they made wildly different papers, and their topics ranged from the likelihood of a housing bond failing to the effect President Trump’s proposed wall will have on the risk of violence from undocumented immigrants.

The students also learned that risk in everyday life is often overestimated by the media. Josh talked about the example of people being scared that major natural disasters will happen, even though the likelihood of the average person dying in a car accident is significantly larger. People are often frequently told that they should be scared of terrorists, even though, in the United States, you are more likely to die falling down the stairs.    

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