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We believe that students learn best, are actively engaged, and are genuinely interested when working on real-world problems. This can be done by giving students the opportunity to work collaboratively on projects that investigate authentic, familiar problems. This article shares one such project that was used in an introductory statistics course. We describe the steps taken to investigate why customers are charged more for iced coffee than hot coffee, which included collecting data and using descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. Interspersed throughout the article, we describe strategies that can help teachers implement the project and scaffold material to assist students who may have gaps in their mathematical background and offer suggestions if using the lesson with students who are mathematically stronger. Students were highly motivated and enthusiastic to work on a problem with a rich, readily understood context. This article provides teachers with an alternative way to assess student learning, and gives students the opportunity to work the way statisticians work.


This work was originally published in Journal of Statistics Education, available at



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