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Measures of Spread

  • This activity uses Microsoft Excel and a deck of playing cards to gain experience with probability concepts. Students will discuss independent events, sample spaces, equally likely probabilities, probability of the intersection of two independent events, probability of the union of two events, percentages, and complements of given events within the context of these simulations. The Excel file and handouts are provided.
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  • This article provides a data collection and analysis activity for illustrating simple linear regression and outlier analysis. The activity was designed to involve students in the process of data collection and to motivate studying the relationship between two quantitative variables. Students collect data on occurrences of letters in English text. These data are used to study the relationships between how often a letter occurs in English text, and: (1) the letter's Morse Code units and (2) the relative frequency of Scrabbleä‹¢ game tiles for the letter. Worksheets and answers to the activities are provided.
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  • This article describes a dataset containing information on 308 diamond stones, which is useful when studying concepts in multiple linear regression analysis. Key Words: Categorical variables; Data transformation; Standardized residuals.
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  • This article describes a dataset of days in office of US Presidents with outliers that are not mistakes or unusually high or low observations. The data illustrate that outliers need not be errors but could be particularly interesting cases and that data displays may differ in their ability to reveal interesting data structure. Key Words: Inliers; Interpretation in context.
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  • This activity uses Microsoft Excel to estimate the population variance of grouped data two ways: the variance within a group and the variance between groups. This activity accompanies Section 7.3 of Data Matters.
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  • The activity is designed to help students develop a better intuitive understanding of what is meant by variability in statistics. Emphasis is placed on the standard deviation as a measure of variability. As they learn about the standard deviation, many students focus on the variability of bar heights in a histogram when asked to compare the variability of two distributions. For these students, variability refers to the "variation" in bar heights. Other students may focus only on the range of values, or the number of bars in a histogram, and conclude that two distributions are identical in variability even when it is clearly not the case. This activity can help students discover that the standard deviation is a measure of the density of values about the mean of a distribution and to become more aware of how clusters, gaps, and extreme values affect the standard deviation. Key words: Variability, standard deviation

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  • In this activity, students will perform an ANOVA to determine if the longevity of male fruitflies is related to their reproductive cycle. The dataset contains longevity (in days) of male fruitflies in 5 groups: Alone, 1 Interested Female, 8 Interested Females, 1 Uninterested Female, 8 Uninterested Females. Questions about the exercise and links to Excel and TI-83 instructions are given. The data exist in Excel, TI-83, and text formats.
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  • In this activity, students will calculate the correlation between GPA and SAT scores on 1000 students. The dataset contains high school GPA, college GPA, and SAT score for each student. Questions about the exercise and a link to Excel instructions are given. The data exist in Excel and text formats.
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  • In this activity, students will perform a two-way ANOVA to determine if there is a difference in the amount of pressure (in Mpa) it takes to break two different types of laminated composites under wet or dry conditions. Questions about the exercise and links to Excel and TI-83 instructions are given. The data exist in Excel, TI-83, and text formats.
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  • In this activity, students will calculate the correlation between the ratio of doctors to people and the average lifespan for 40 countries. The dataset contains the name of the country, the number of citizens per doctor, and the average female lifespan (in years). Questions about the exercise and a link to Excel instructions are given. The data exist in Excel data format and text format.
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