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Elementary Probability

  • June 23, 2009 Activity webinar presented and hosted by Leigh Slauson, Otterbein College. This webinar describes an activity that uses the playlist from an iPod music player to teach the concept of random selection, the various sampling techniques, and the use of simulation to estimate probability. The webinar includes a discussion of the background of this activity, the learning goals of the activity, how this activity can be adapted to different levels of technology, suggestions for assessment, and other supplemental reference materials. (handouts and other materials available for free download)
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  • July 28, 2009 Activity webinar presented by Jo Hardin, Pomona College, and hosted by Leigh Slauson, Otterbein College. Based on an activity by John Spurrier, this webinar uses a baseball example to introduce students to Bayesian estimation. Students use prior information to determine prior distributions which lead to different estimators of the probability of a hit in baseball. The webinar also compares different Bayesian estimators and different frequentist estimators using bias, variability, and mean squared error. The effect that sample size and dispersion of the prior distribution have on the estimator is then illustrated by the activity.
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  • Let me throw a mathematical dilemma at you - there`s 500 left. Well how come the odds of you winning are a million to one? is a quote by British TV personality Simon Cowell (1959 - ). Cowell said this to a contestant on the British TV talent competition "Pop Idol" on October 5, 2001.
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  • Statistics has been the handmaid of science, and has poured a flood of light upon the dark questions of famine and pestilence, ignorance and crime, disease and death. This is a quote from James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States. The quote came in a speech delivered in the House of Representatives on December 16, 1867 in which Garfield (then a congressman) was arguing for the value of a broad and scientifically sound census. The quote is found on page 216 of the 1881 book "The Life and Work of James A. Garfield," by John Clark Ridpath.
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  • For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses. is a quote by American writer Robert M. Pirsig (1928 - ). The quote is found on page 171 of his 1974 book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values".
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  • Hypotheses like professors, when they are seen not to work any longer in the laboratory, should disappear. This is a quote by British chemist and chemistry education pioneer Henry Edward Armstrong (1848 - 1937). The quote is found in Sir Harold Hartley's chapter on Armstrong in his 1971 book "Studies in the History of Chemistry".
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  • I love pictures. Formulas and symbols - I don't especially like them. is a quote by American probabilist and Bayesian statistical theoretician David Blackwell (1919 - 2010). The quote may be found in the the book "Mathematical People: Profiles and Interviews" edited by D.J. Albers & G.L. Alexanderson (Birkhauser, 1985).
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  • A cartoon to teach about the need to think carefully about the assumptions underlying a statistical model (also uses the idea that you can multiply chances for independent events to find the chance that they all occur). Drawn by British cartoonist John Landers based on an idea from Dennis earl. Free to use in the classroom and on course websites.

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  • We can never achieve absolute truth but we can live hopefully by a system of calculated probabilities. The law of probability gives to natural and human sciences - to human experience as a whole - the unity of life we seek. Quote of American educator Agnes E Meyer (1887 - 1970) appearing in her book "Education for a New Morality" (MacMillan, 1957) p. 21. Also to be found in "Statistically Speaking the dictionary of quotations" compiled by Carl Gaither and Alma Cavazos-Gaither p. 131

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  • BrightStat is a free online application for statistical analyses. Besides many non-parametric tests, BrightStat offers multiple linear regression, logistic regression, ANOVA and repeated measurements ANOVA as well as Kaplan Meier Survival analysis. BrightStat has an easy to use GUI and supports the creation of mostly used scientifc graphs such as line-, bar-, scatter- and box-plots as well as histograms.

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