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Volume 2, Number 2 (November 1994) ISSN: 1069-1898

Sandra Fillebrown, "Using Projects in an Elementary Statistics Course for Non-Science Majors" (21K)

Two of the most common suggestions for improving statistics education are using substantial open-ended projects and using real data sets for statistical analysis. Both recommendations have been incorporated successfully into an elementary statistics class for non-science majors by having the students design, implement, and analyze the data from their own statistical study over the course of a semester. Details of how this implementation was organized as well as a partial list of the students' projects are included. --SF

Key Words: Problem-based learning; Student-generated data; Experiments; Surveys.

Iddo Gal and Lynda Ginsburg, "The Role of Beliefs and Attitudes in Learning Statistics: Towards an Assessment Framework" (61K)

While many teachers of statistics are likely to focus on transmitting knowledge, many students are likely to have trouble with statistics due to non-cognitive factors, such as negative attitudes or beliefs towards statistics. Such factors can impede learning of statistics, or hinder the extent to which students will develop useful statistical intuitions and apply what they have learned outside the classroom. This paper reviews the role of affect and attitudes in the learning of statistics, critiques current instruments for assessing attitudes and beliefs of students, and explores assessment methods teachers can use to gauge students' dispositions regarding statistics. --IG

Key Words: Affective issues; Assessment instruments; Anxiety.

Michael Laviolette, "Linear Regression: The Computer as a Teaching Tool" (35K)

Computers and software can be used not only to analyze data, but also to illustrate essential statistical topics. Methods are shown for using software, particularly with graphics, to teach fundamental topics in linear regression, including underlying model, random error, influence, outliers, interpretation of multiple regression coefficients, and problems with nearly collinear variables. Systat 5.2 for Macintosh, a popular package, is used as the primary vehicle, although the methods shown can be accomplished with many other packages. --ML

Key Words: Statistical software; Statistical education; Graphics; Model comparisons.

Bruce E. Trumbo, "Some Demonstration Programs for Use in Teaching Elementary Probability: Parts 1 and 2" (37K)

Graphical, computational, interactive, and simulation capabilities of computers can be successfully employed in the teaching of elementary probability, either as classroom demonstrations or as exploratory exercises in a computer laboratory. In this first paper of a contemplated series, two programs for EGA-equipped IBM-PC compatible machines are included with indications of their pedagogical uses. Concepts illustrated include the law of large numbers, the frequentist definition of a probability, the Poisson distribution and process, and intuitive approaches to independence and randomness. (Commands for rough equivalents to the programs using Minitab are shown in the Appendix.) --BT

Key Words: Law of large numbers; Poisson process; Simulation; Computer program; Pedagogy.

Ronald L. Wasserstein, "Lotto Luck: A Computer Demonstration for the Classroom" (18K)

Students of all ages seem fascinated by the lottery, making it a ready tool for illustrating basic probabilistic concepts. The author has developed a program called "Lotto Luck" for IBM PC compatibles which has been used in over 100 classrooms from grades 6 through 12 and with dozens of college classes and civic groups to demonstrate what happens to the "earnings" of the frequent lottery player over a period of time. We discuss how to use the program and provide information for obtaining the compiled code by ftp. --RW

Key Words: Probability; Lottery; Gambler's ruin.

"Teaching Bits: A Resource for Teachers of Statistics" (34K)

This column features "bits" of information sampled from a variety of sources that may be of interest to teachers of statistics. Joan Garfield abstracts information from the literature on teaching and learning statistics, while Laurie Snell summarizes articles from the news and other media that may be used with students to provoke discussions or serve as a basis for classroom activities or student projects. --JG

Allan J. Rossman, "Televisions, Physicians, and Life Expectancy"(10K)

This dataset contains information on life expectancies in various countries of the world and the densities of people per television set and of people per physician in those countries. The example has proven very useful for helping students to discover the fundamental principle that correlation does not imply causation. The data also give students an opportunity to explore data transformations and to consider whether a causal connection is necessary for one variable to be a useful predictor of another. --AR

Key Words: Correlation; Causation; Transformation; Prediction.

Editorial Board for Volume 2, Number 2

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