This simulation allows you to roll two dice and compare empirical and probability histograms for the sum or product of the two outcomes.
Java-enabled web browser
Content Quality Concerns:
I think the explanations could include more information in order to provide a more complete demonstration of the concept. A written activity supplementing this tool would probably be the best solution. I would have liked to see the Sum and Product tabs to be linked. If you roll the dice in one, it should do the same in the other so students can make a direct comparison. I would have also liked to see an option to roll the dice maybe 20 times. A skip from 1 to 100 is quite large.
Content Quality Strengths:
The visual aspect is great. It clearly shows how single trials work and provides a way to collect many trials to see what happens in the long run. The explanations on the right side are short, but are helpful in understanding what is going on. The content appears to be correct.
Ease of Use Concerns:
There is no "reset" button. I think it would be helpful to have one. It might also be good to have a way to display the results of each trial (i.e. a list of the outcomes of each trial: each individual die result and the sum/product). The colors are quite bright; they could be toned down a bit. In addition, it's possible that students might get bored with the Probability Histogram. They would be done with it in less than 5 minutes. It would be helpful to see the two tabs linked and more options on the number of rolls. There should be a label on the y-axis that states it is a probability. The x-axis label is not centered. There are a couple of letters that are underlined and I am not sure of the purpose for that.
Ease of Use Strengths:
I like the overlay of the empirical distributions on top of the simulated data - students can easily see how their data start to follow that pattern as they run more and more trials. Overall, the visual aspect of the tool is very good, and the instructions are clear.
Potential Effectiveness Concerns:
On its own, I do not see this tool as being particularly effective. It needs to be supported by an activity that guides students through the learning process. It only seems to apply to statistics courses that have a heavy emphasis on probability. Many courses are moving away from probability. However, if the course has a focus on probability, it seems that it would require work for the teacher to make an activity that would develop critical thinking skills using the simulation.
Potential Effectiveness Strengths:
It allows the students to explore a useful probability concept at their own pace, in their own way. This can help to build strong conceptual understanding. The Probability Histogram may be effective in a statistics course that has a heavy focus on probability.
Potential Effectiveness Rating:
Source Code Available:
Source Code Available
Intended User Role:
Free for All, Free for Nonprofits