A summery of my Stats class
Over the course of the semester detailed statistical work was done using data, collected by Gary Alt and Minitab Inc., on measurements from bears. Using the Statscrunch software, Excel, calculators, and formulas, skills were develop for understanding data, extrapolating meaning from the numbers, and graphing.
Gary Alt and Minitab Inc. obtained several different measurements from bears: height, weight, specific body parts like chest and head, gender, age, and even the month the data was collected. The term project included many activities for understanding the data that was collected like knowing if data was qualitative or quantitative, the organizational level and the implications of being one level or another, how to make comparisons on the data. Real world applications include what a valid random sample is, how to obtain it, how to use it to make inferences about a population, and how to be objective when given data. Understanding the data can be the difference between understanding results, and drawing incorrect conclusions.
Extrapolating meaning from the numbers might be the most important part of the skills obtained from the term project. Many people have the ability to obtain data sets, a preschooler could count quantities or use a ruler, but very few people know how to use the data ones it is found. Basic math teaches how to get the mean, mode, and the five point summery- minimum, first quartile, median, third quartile, and maximum- but even that doesn’t teach why those are important like the Math 1040 statistics class term project did. The relationship between the statistical data and population data, like confidence intervals and hypothesis testing is another useful skill learned. Knowing the true meaning of your data can prevent bad data from being published, or recognizing a groundbreaking discovery.
The world is filled with graphs, and they are good, bad, and ugly, properly reading them is crucial. The term project, and really the entire class, taught the importance of graphs. Unfortunately, graphs can be used to manipulated to make things appear more, or less, important than things really are. . Knowing the right graph, for the right situation, is invaluable, using a histograph can show differences in categories better than a pie chart. A scatter plot can show the relationship between an independent and a dependent variable. A boxplot shows the spread, and concentration, of data better than just seeing numbers on a page. The term project taught graphical understanding better than just solving homework ever could.
This semester’s term project, using the measurements of bears by Alt and Minitab Inc., taught lifelong skills that can go far beyond the class. Understanding data, extrapolating meaning from that data, and knowing how to properly utilize graphs, are skills that are valuable to everyone.