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Probability

  • A cartoon with a neat double pun that can be a nice vehicle to discuss how the expectations of non-linear functions of a random variable is not the same as the function of the expectations. The cartoon was used in the February 2019 CAUSE cartoon caption contest and the winning caption was written by Joseph Gerda from College of the Canyons. The cartoon was drawn by British cartoonist John Landers (www.landers.co.uk) based on an idea by Dennis Pearl from Penn State University.

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  • A cartoon suitable for use in teaching about how the precision of measurements propagate when mathematical operations are applied to them . The cartoon is number 295 (April, 2020) from the webcomic series at xkcd.com created by Randall Munroe. Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites under a Creative Commons attribution-non-commercial 2.5 license.

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  • A cartoon suitable for use in teaching about the chance of rare events and the memoryless property. The cartoon is number 2203 (September, 2019) from the webcomic series at xkcd.com created by Randall Munroe. Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites under a Creative Commons attribution-non-commercial 2.5 license.

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  • A cartoon suitable for use in teaching about interpreting probabilities. The cartoon is number 2142 (April, 2019) from the webcomic series at xkcd.com created by Randall Munroe. Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites under a Creative Commons attribution-non-commercial 2.5 license.

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  • A cartoon suitable for use in teaching about the normal density function. The cartoon is number 2118 (March, 2019) from the webcomic series at xkcd.com created by Randall Munroe. Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites under a Creative Commons attribution-non-commercial 2.5 license.

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  • A cartoon suitable for use in teaching about risks and the problem with making post hoc comparisons. The cartoon is number 2107 (February, 2019) from the webcomic series at xkcd.com created by Randall Munroe. Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites under a Creative Commons attribution-non-commercial 2.5 license.

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  • A cartoon with an unusual graph suitable for use in teaching about cumulative distribution functions – topics for discussion include how a cdf looks like a step function for a discrete variable and a continuously increasing function over the range of a continuous variable (ask the class if the cartoon gets this correct or not). The cartoon is number 2092 (December, 2018) from the webcomic series at xkcd.com created by Randall Munroe. Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites under a Creative Commons attribution-non-commercial 2.5 license.

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  • A cartoon suitable for use in teaching about Venn Diagrams and the meaning of mutually exclusive events. The cartoon is number 2090 (December, 2018) from the webcomic series at xkcd.com created by Randall Munroe. Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites under a Creative Commons attribution-non-commercial 2.5 license.

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  • A joke to introduce probability as the language of uncertainty to be used with a student population who would know that probabilidad is the Spanish word for probability (note - for the best effect in telling the joke an instructor should emphasize the last syllable (probabiliDAD). The joke was written by Larry Lesser from The University of Texas at El PAso in November, 2019.

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  • Summary: Through generating, collecting, displaying, and analyzing data, students are given the opportunity to explore a variety of descriptive statistical techniques and develop an understanding of the distinction between theoretical, subjective, and empirical (or experimental) probabilities. These concepts are developed with activities using Hershey KissesTM and may be extended to introduce the sampling distribution of a sample proportion. The activities are described in M. Richardson and S. Haller. (2002), “What is the Probability of a Kiss? (It's Not What You Think),” Journal of Statistics Education, 10(3), https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10691898.2002.11910683

    Specifics: The main activity uses Hershey’s Kisses to explore the concept of probability. Three specific sub-activities are performed such as: 

    1. Students explore the empirical probability that a plain Hershey’s Kiss will land on its flat base when spilled from a cup. 
    2. Students make predictions about the probability of an almond Hershey’s Kisses landing on its base when spilled from a cup, after having experimented with the plain Kisses.
    3. Students explore the properties of the distribution of a sample proportion to see whether the percentages of base landings have a specified distribution and whether they think that the number of Kisses tossed affects the shape or the mean and standard deviation of this distribution.

    (Resource photo illustration by Barbara Cohen, 2020; this summary compiled by Bibek Aryal)

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