13
Aug 16

## The pearls of AP Statistics 19

Make it easy, keep 'em busy - law of large numbers illustrated

They say: Use the "Simulating the Probability of Head With a Fair Coin" applet on the text CD or other software to illustrate the long-run definition of probability by simulating short-term and long-term results of flipping a balanced coin (Agresti and Franklin, p.216)

I say: Since it is not explained how to use "other software", the readers are in fact forced to use the applet from the text CD. This is nothing but extortion. This exercise requires the students to write down 30 observations (which is not so bad, I also practice this in a more entertaining way). But the one following it invites them to simulate 100 observations. The two exercises are too simple, time consuming and their sole purpose is to illustrate the law of large numbers introduced on p. 213. The students have but one life and the authors want them to lose it for AP Statistics?

The same objective can be achieved in a more efficient and instructive 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 explanation.

Law of large numbers - click to view video

Here is the Excel file.

### 4 Responses for "The pearls of AP Statistics 19"

1. […] See how this exercise can be extended to illustrate the law of large numbers. […]

2. […] statistic will be close to the population parameter. The histograms have been obtained as explained here and here. Download the Excel […]

3. […] 2.2, Exercise 2.3, Exercise 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 […]

4. […] start with the intuition, which is illustrated using Excel; […]