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U.S. Navy Museum Cold War Gallery Lesson Plan
U.S. Nuclear Stockpiles during the Cold War - A Regression Exercise
Developed by Richard Gill, Peabody Veteran's Memorial High School, Peabody, Massachusetts
2011 Naval Historical Foundation STEM teacher fellowship
 
 
  Instructional Goal

This lesson was designed for AP Statistics students - but it could be used - with minor modifications - for any high school statistics course that covers the topic of regression. The lesson as written asks student to re-express a data set to make it more linear and allow for regression analysis, but this section of the lesson could be removed for non-AP students.

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Background

Following WWII and the expansion of nuclear weaponry, the U.S. began to stockpile warheads in an effort to "stay ahead" of the Soviet Union's capabilities. These military buildups constituted the Cold War which ran from 1946 to 1991.

For more information about nuclear weapons during the cold war, visit the Virtual Tour exhibit Nuclear Weapons: Air, Surface, Submarine.

The table below shows the number of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal from 1945 to 2012; some data is missing because it is classified, the data in the later years are estimates.



Part I:

Using technology (statistics software or your calculator) create a scatter plot of the data and describe the relationship between year and number of warheads.

 
 

 

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