Wisdom of the crowd

Give us 5 minutes of your time. Watch the videos below and fill in the short questionnaire with your guesses below! Get the live data for yourselves!

'2 Heads are better than 1 - Testing the wisdom of the crowd!'

We've all played 'Guess how many sweets there are in the jar?' if not that, then balloons in the car and numerous other versions of the same idea. It can be really difficult to make informed estimations and the result can often be counter intuitive. The wisdom of the crowd theory suggests that getting lots of responses to the question might help us find out the actual number. In this case, the average of all the guesses might be pretty close to the actual number. Well, this activity is all about putting this theory to the test! The jars in the pictures will be taken to various events in different places this year for people to record their guesses. For everyone else, there are videos and pictures below to look at along with a questionnaire to record our guesses

Jar 1 - Styrofoam packing pieces!

Watch the video below - How many styrofoam pieces are in the jar? How many of them are green?

Jar 2 - Sweeties/Candy!

Watch the video below - How many of the red sweeties/candies are there in the jar?

Jar 3 - Staples!

Watch the video below - How many staples are there in the jar?

Jar 4 - Rice!

Watch the video below - How many grains of rice are there in the jar?

The Questionnaire

Please now complete the exercise by answering a few quick questions and entering your guesses below! (Take care to only click submit once). If you are part of a group and want to be able to pick out your results easily then agree on a group identifying code and add this in the third question.

The Results

You can watch results come in live and export them away for use in classrooms or wherever at any point. The results are available here Wisdom of the crowd data Data collection starts in October 2011 and the plan is to collect as much data as possible over a period of months. For that reason, the actual numbers for each jar will not be published here. If you have used the data and want to share the actual numbers with your class then please e-mail me on jamesn@inthinking.co.uk and I will send them to you.

What to do with the data

With data collection starting in October 2011 - I may be a while before there is an interesting amount of data to play with. By that time, the intention is to publish here some thoughts and resources on what to do with the data and how to make an interesting project of it. I would also be interested to collect stories about what other people may have done with this data.

Spreading the word

This experiment will be as good as the number of response we get so please help us to spread the word about this to help collect as much data as possible. It would be great if teachers and students alike where harnessing the power of their social networks!


All materials on this website are for the exclusive use of teachers and students at subscribing schools for the period of their subscription. Any unauthorised copying or posting of materials on other websites is an infringement of our copyright and could result in your account being blocked and legal action being taken against you.