Teaching

  • This article discusses different ways in which middle school students can be taught the concept of the mean, or the average.

  • This article proposes a new strategy for the teaching of probability.

  • It is the purpose of this paper to present a visual analogy that may be employed by instructors to teach the concept of power to their students in statistical courses. It is anticipated that this analogy will then be useful to students in helping them to construct, in their own minds, the concept of statistical power.

  • This article describes the content of a coures in multivariate analysis and the types of students who take this course.

  • The purpose of the project that formed the basis of the work reported herein was to provide students a series of web-based statistical readings designed to illustrate common statistical concepts via "real-life" educational research situations.

  • Discrete event simulation has been nurtured by statistical analysis for many years. The converse is not true. However, recent advances in computer technology and software development have made PC's running specialized simulation languages readily available. This paper discusses how discrete event simulation, implemented via specialized simulation languages (e.g., GPSS) can become a useful teaching resource and motivate statistics students. In addition, simulation helps to present more effectively interdisciplinary case studies, to increase group learning and to relieve students and instructors from statistical drudgery. Examples of teaching with such GPSS simulation approach are developed.

  • In the information age, middle school students must be intelligent consumers of information. To instill critical thinking with respect to statistical data, the interpretation and creation of graphs are essential. Although vast amounts of information can be gleaned from traditional text sources, the World Wide Web (WWW) offers information that is updated far more frequently. Because of the motivational aspects and expedient nature of using data from the Web, this article focuses on its use; however, each of the activities can be adapted for use with traditional, text-based media.

  • In this article, we describe a classroom demonstration that uses the Gambler's Fallacy to illustrate misconceptions about random processes and how they affect statistical interpretation. The demonstration used a database collected from simulated gambling by students picking professional football games with the point spread (i.e., a real-life random process). The results of student picks illustrated that random processes are not self-correcting and reinforced the relation between sample size and variability. Formal and informal feedback from students indicated that the demonstration was well received and recommended for future classes.

  • Plotting girls' and boys' weights on a medical growth chart in the introductory statistics course illustrates variability, the normal distribution, percentiles, z scores, outliers, bivariate graphing, and simple regression. The chart presents the spread of weights for newborns through 36 months, includes percentile scores, and represents a bivariate distribution with age on the abscissa and weight on the ordinate. Students plot their own weights to understand how the chart works and then plot the weights of a selected boy and girl to understand how the chart identifies outliers for follow-up tests on hormone levels, nutrition, and intellectual development. Instructors in other psychology courses (e.g., developmental, child, abnormal, introductory, and educational psychology) may also find the chart useful when covering infant development.

  • The recent statistics education reform movement has advocated the adoption of many supplements to the introductory statistics course. These include hands-on activities, extensive use of technology, student projects, reflective writing, oral presentations, collaborative learning, and case studies. Combined with a full curriculum of topics for a variety of majors, this appears to be a daunting wish list. This paper offers some suggestions, based on experience at a small university, as to how to integrate many of these techniques, allowing them to build on and complement each other. Benefits and tradeoffs of implementing these techniques will be discussed, including issues of time commitment from the perspective of both students and instructors.

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