This semester I tried a Guessing Ages Activity as a first day activity in my statistics classes.  My version of the activity is adapted from page 11 of Teaching Statistics: A Bag of Tricks.  I found this activity to be a good ice breaker for the first day of class.  The students really enjoyed working in small groups to guess the ages of people and it gave me a chance to briefly review how to find the mean with students, a concept that they should already know from Pre-Algebra class.  Of course, later on in the class we talk about…
Happy 1.653*Pi (5/19) Day!  Yes, I know that Pi Day was way back on 3/14 and that 2*Pi Day is coming up on 6/28.   But celebrating 1.653*Pi Day is a little more fun, don't you think?  Here are few resources that you may be able to use in your classroom: Pi Day Activity My Pi Day Exponent Activity from Pi Day 2011 Pi Day Rap Videos
Warning:  I don’t normally write about baseball.  But you can’t deny that being at Justin Verlander’s One Hitter game is something special. I have to admit that I went into this game not expecting much from the Detroit Tigers.  The Tigers should have been able to sweep the Twins and they didn’t.  Villarreal shouldn’t have had to come out of the bullpen at all on Thursday afternoon.  There are a lot of things that are simply making me angry about this Tigers team.  Let’s put it this way, the AAA people were passing out rally towels outside Comerica Park before…
This week I bought a new laptop.  My search came down to the final three.  I ended up buying the Toshiba, but I thought it might be helpful to others to post the thoughts that went through my mind while picking between the three, as well as the specs on each of the machines from Best Buy.   Pros Cons HP ·         Low price point; cannot beat the quality for the price. ·         Can do the basic stuff such as use the Internet and create documents for my classes. ·         Had bad experiences the HP in the past, but that…
The other day in my statistics class, I talked about Control Charts.  I really wanted to drive home the point about the difference between individual runs charts and control charts.  So, I did a version of Deming’s Experiment with my students. First of all, it was very difficult to get 1,000 marbles on very short notice, and even harder to get them in two specific colors.  I ended up going to the dollar store and buying the gemstones that people generally put in vases or in the garden.  The gemstones are sold in bags that are 14oz, but I can…
This past week I have had to do a few things on the computer that appear not to be common knowledge.  Here is a brief run-down of computer tips and tricks that I think might be useful to everyone: Microsoft Excel The University of Wisconsin-EauClaire has a wonderful summary of functions needed to use Excel as a Gradebook.  My favorite one is the ‘SMALL’ function, which makes it very easy to drop the lowest score, the second lowest score, etc. This week I also came across a situation where I had to add double quotes around a name and slanted…
The other day in my statistics class, I was teaching the runs test for randomness.  One of my students keeps on asking for an in-class activity, and it happened that I had an extra half-an-hour of class time to spare.  So, I adapted this famous teaching experiment for use in my own class. The set-up:  I split the class into 8 groups, with 3-4 students in each group.  Four of the groups were labeled ‘Group A’ and the other four groups were ‘Group B’.  Group A went into the hallway while I explained the assignment to Group B. Group B…
Disclaimer:  Some of this might seem very, very obvious.  But sometimes it's good to state the obvious, right? This semester I decided to teach plotting points differently than I have in the past. I started the lesson by handing each student a piece of graph paper and a ruler.  Yes, I know college students should probably be accountable for bringing their own supplies to class. However, in this particular class we spend a grand total of 2 class periods discussing graphing.  I do not believe it is worth it for these students to buy a pack of 100 sheets of graph…