Category: Probability and Statistics

Teaching Statistics with Clickers

I haven’t talked a lot about clickers on this blog, mostly because there’s no easy way for me to try using them for a semester and because I’ve focused a lot of my free time on learning to teach math online. My college has a set of clickers that can be checked out by faculty, but it’s always a guessing game (when you “check out” equipment) whether the previous user will remember to turn in the equipment before your class meeting time. If it was affordable, I’d probably just purchase a full class set myself and then not have to worry about the costs to students (but that seems a little extreme at roughly $2000 for a class set). In the meantime, Derek Bruff has two great posts on teaching Statistics using classroom response systems (or clickers), so I’m sending you there! Check it out here (Part I and Part II). Possibly Related Posts: Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses ESIL: A Learning Lens for the Digital Age Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Understand in learning objectives – it’s the forest, not the...

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Teaching Math with Clickers

Today’s guest blogger is Derek Bruff, Assistant Director for the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University. Derek writes a blog you may have stumbled across called Teaching with Classroom Response Systems. Here’s a question I ask the students in my probability and statistics course: Your sister-in-law calls to say that she’s having twins. Which of the following is more likely? (Assume that she’s not having identical twins.) A. Twin boysB. Twin girlsC. One boy and one girlD. All are equally likely Since I ask this question using a classroom response system, each of my students is able to submit his or her response to the question using a handheld device called a clicker. The clickers beam the students’ responses via radio frequencies to a receiver attached to my classroom computer. Software on the computer generates a histogram that shows the distribution of student responses. I first ask my students to respond to the question individually, without discussing it. Usually, the histogram shows me that most of the students answered incorrectly, which tells me that the question is one worth asking. I then ask my students to discuss the question in pairs or small groups, then submit their (possibly different) answers again using their clickers. This generates a buzz in the classroom as students discuss and debate the answer choices with their peers. After the second “vote,” the histogram usually...

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Just under 25 percent of the vote?

Well, I guess you just have to visit 360 and read this post – a candidate in the U.S. could technically with the election with just under 25% of the vote! Many of us have taught a math class that involves voting methods, and my dislike of the electoral college method continues to grow as I learn more about how others vote. Possibly Related Posts: Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra Group Exploration in...

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A Random Walk (so to speak)

Here is a video that can be understood by all levels of mathematics students called the “Law of Large Numbers.” This one shows, in several situations, how the center of gravity of randomly-moving particles becomes more stable as the number of particles increases. Possibly Related Posts: Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day WolframAlpha Facebook Report Battling Bad Science (and Statistics) Moving Math from Analog to Digital Mathematics of...

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TED features Mathemagics

This little 15-minute TedTalk, Arthur Benjamin races calculators from the audience doing the calculations in his head. He is very entertaining and I think students would enjoy the presentation, since they are often under the impression that nobody has every done calculations without a calculator. He squares a random 4-digit number from the audience in his head just as fast as the calculators. For those of you that teach probablity, he does a neat trick guessing the missing digits of 7-digit numbers (this is somewhere around the 7-minute mark). For elementary ed, there is a nice “number” on guessing the day of the week when someone was born based on the birth date (8-9 minute mark). For you algebra teachers, he does the square of a 5-digit number, going through the thought process out loud (starting around the 11-minute mark). Cleverly, he squares the number by breaking it into a binomial:(57683)2 = (57000+683)2 = 570002 + 57000*683*2 + 6832 I’ll let you work on that one in your head… Possibly Related Posts: Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Group Exploration in Math WolframAlpha Facebook Report Level Up: Video Games for Learning Algebra Coming out of the Closet: I’m a Game...

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