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Jul 16

The pearls of AP Statistics 3

Importance of simulation in Excel for elementary stats courses

I would say it is very important because it allows students to see data generation in real time.

They say: Simulating Randomness and Variability. To get a feel for randomness and variability, let’s simulate taking an exit poll of voters using the sample from a population applet on the text CD. (Agresti and Franklin, p.19)

I say: Why use a population applet from the text CD? It's certainly good for the authors, because without the text itself the students would't have the CD. It's not so good for the students because the book's price on the publisher's web site is $221.80. Most students and many teachers of elementary statistics don't know that all simulation can be done in Excel. See examples: Exercise 2.1Exercise 2.2Exercise 2.3Exercise 2.4, Example 2.2, and this post about active learning. Even the law of large numbers and central limit theorem can be illustrated in Excel. Using Excel is better because 1) most people and businesses have it and 2) Microsoft Office is accompanied with a powerful programming software called Visual Basic for Applications. I used it on many occasions and it saved me hundreds of hours (examples will be provided later).

Excel

 

2 Responses for "The pearls of AP Statistics 3"

  1. […] manner. The students are better off if they see how to model the law of large numbers in Excel. As I promised, here is the […]

  2. […] At the theoretical level, many topics are treated superficially. You can find a lot of additional information in my posts named "The pearls of AP Statistics". Here is the list of most important additions: regression and correlation should be decoupled; the importance of sampling distributions is overstated; probability is better explained without reference to the long run; the difference between the law of large numbers and central limit theorem should be made clear; the rate of convergence in the law of large numbers is not that fast; the law of large numbers is intuitively simple; the uniform distribution can also be made simple; to understand different charts, put them side by side; the Pareto chart is better understood as a special type of a histogram; instead of using the software on the provided CD, try to simulate in Excel yourself. […]

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