To get students started exploring data it is useful to have a survey of the class. Here are two examples of surveys used, one at Dartmouth and one at Grinnell.
Class Survey at Dartmouth College
Class Survey at Grinnell College
An activity that has been found quite successful is to have students design an experiment to determine if there is a significant correlation between their rating of the cookies and the price.
Writing in a front page article in the New York Times (9 January 1990) Gina Kolata states:
It takes just seven ordinary, imprefect shuffles to mix a deck of cards thouroughly, researchers have found. Fewer are not enough and more do not significantly improve the mixing.Peter Doyle has invented an interesting game that he calls Yin and Yang. This game can be easily played by the class and illustrates some limitations of this claim that "seven shuffles suffices". John Finn tells you how Yin and Yang is played.
The New York Times article was based work of Reeds, Bayer, and Diaconis to determine the number of shuffles needed to have a well shuffled deck. You can find discussions of this work in a paper by Brad Mann and also in the Chapter 3 of Introduction to Probability by Grinstead and Snell.
You can also find a True Basic computer program by John Finn to simulate this game and a similar Mathematica program written by Charles Grinstead in computer resources.
Provided by Donald Bentley, Pomona College.
Meet Your Local Statistician
This is an activity sent to us by Melinda Harder of Bates College, who asked her students to report on interviews with area statisticians.