# Elementary Probability

• ### Being Warren Buffett: a classroom simulation of financial risk (includes Dataset)

March 24, 2009 Activity webinar presented by Nicholas Horton, Smith College, and hosted by Leigh Slauson, Otterbein College. Students have a hard time making the connection between variance and risk. To convey the connection, Foster and Stine (Being Warren Buffett: A Classroom Simulation of Risk and Wealth when Investing in the Stock Market; The American Statistician, 2006, 60:53-60) developed a classroom simulation. In the simulation, groups of students roll three colored dice that determine the success of three "investments". The simulated investments behave quite differently. The value of one remains almost constant, another drifts slowly upward, and the third climbs to extremes or plummets. As the simulation proceeds, some groups have great success with this last investment--they become the "Warren Buffetts" of the class. For most groups, however, this last investment leads to ruin because of variance in its returns. The marked difference in outcomes shows students how hard it is to separate luck from skill. The simulation also demonstrates how portfolios, weighted combinations of investments, reduce the variance. In the simulation, a mixture of two poor investments is surprisingly good. In this webinar, the activity is demonstrated along with a discussion of goals, context, background materials, class handouts, and references (extra materials available for download free of charge)

• ### Webinar: Teaching Statistics with Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 28, 2009 Activity webinar presented by Herbert Lee, University of California - Santa Cruz, and hosted by Leigh Slauson, Otterbein College. Getting and retaining the attention of students in an introductory statistics course can be a challenge, and poor motivation or outright fear of mathematical concepts can hinder learning. By using an example as familiar and comforting as chocolate chip cookies, the instructor can make a variety of statistical concepts come to life for the students, greatly enhancing learning. As illustrated in this webnar, topics from variability and exploratory data analysis to hypothesis testing and Bayesian statistics can be illuminated with cookies.
• ### Webinar: Fighting cancer with raspberries: demonstrating the value of random assignment

May 26, 2009 Activity webinar presented by Dennis Pearl, The Ohio State Unversity, and hosted by Leigh Slauson, Otterbein College. This webinar describes a computer lab activity using the Flash-based applet at www.causeweb.org/mouse_experiment to teach key principles regarding the value of random assignment. These include: 1) how it helps to eliminate bias when compared with a haphazard assignment process, 2) how it leads to a consistent pattern of results when repeated, and 3) how it makes the question of statistical significance interesting since differences between groups are either from treatment or by the luck of the draw. In this webinar, the activity is demonstrated along with a discussion of goals, context, background materials, class handouts, and assessments.
• ### Webinar: Is the iPod shuffle feature truly random? A simulation activity.

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)
• ### Webinar: Bayes Goes to Bat: using baseball to introduce Bayesian estimation

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.
• ### Quote: Cowell on Odds

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.
• ### Quote: Garfield on Statistics

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.
• ### Quote: Pirsig on Hypotheses

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".
• ### Quote: Armstrong on Hypotheses

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".
• ### Quote: Blackwell on Graphical Displays

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).