Learning How to Analyze Risk

How much risk do YOU take?

Study two activities you routinely engage in.

Determine just how risky they are.

What, if anything, can you do to lessen the risk?

Are these risks worth taking?

As a class, brainstorm everyday activities.
  • Sort them into two groups, activities you think ARE risky, and activities you thing ARE NOT risky. Where will you put swimming, bike riding, eating peanut butter and playing soccer?
  • Form teams of three or four to investigate two activities, one from each list.
  • As a team, create two lists for each activity--what do you already know about the activity and what you need to find out.

Analyzing risk is probably new to you. It involves weighing risks against benefits and costs against benefits. To help you develop a research plan, you can follow a real decision-making process.

  • Identify the steps scientists took in this risk analysis.
  • Develop a research plan that follows a similar process. Your need to find cost information only once! Then pick the best alternative.
  • Need more help? Here's a general guide for your project.
Check your work plan with your teacher to make sure you have not left out any important steps. Begin your research by looking for information about your "risky business."


Authors: Bill Britton, Mohr Elementary School, Pleasanton; Diana Fong-Wedgwood, Edison Elementary School; Tim Perrotta, Cesar Chavez Middle School, and Steven Smith, Edison Elementary School.
Created for the NTEP II Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.
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Last Updated: October 9, 2000
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