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Ma 404: Probability & Statistics I

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Elementary combinatorial analysis, independence and dependence, distribution functions, moment-generating functions, random variables, central limit theorem, elementary point and interval estimation, and hypothesis testing. Required calculator: TI 89 or Nspire CAS. Prerequisite(s): Ma 202, Ma 299. 3 Credits.

Fall 2020 Course Information

Course Resources

Computational Resources

Accessing R: see my faculty page

Calculator Resources

Connectivity Software:  TI-89  or TI-Nspire
Stats:  ANOVA for TI-89,  ANOVA for Excel

Interesting Problems

the Birthday Problem

the Matching Problem

the Coupon Collector Problem

the Secretary Problem

Daily Expectations for Effective/Efficient Study

You may study any way you wish; however, there are certain approaches that just work better and allow you to  avoid massive test studying sessions.

  1. Before considering any homework problems, take 5-10 minutes to add the ideas from today’s lecture to your “map” of the content. Don’t use paragraphs or even complete sentences.  Do NOT just copy words from the lecture or book.  Rewrite the ideas in your own (maybe awkward) words.  Relate current ideas to previous.

  2. Take 10-20 minutes and consider all the theory discussed that day. Answer the following questions:
    • How will you learn this theory without resorting to memorization (this will NOT work)
    • What general tools were used (that might be reused again)?
    • How can I tell when I should use this “general” tool?
  3. As you consider the recommended homework, answer the following questions:
    • Where does this problem fit into my “map”?
    • What technique/process did I use to solve this problem?
    • What about the problem made me use that technique? Aka how will I recognize this question on the test when it looks different?
    • Can I explain in a step-by-step format how to solve all problems of that form (in my own words, no “math” language, just “English”)? Add these instructions to a study sheet.
  4. Prior to the next class period, take 5 minutes to look over whatever we are covering next.
    • Identify the big idea of that section (and maybe take note of any new vocab that we’ll see).
    • Try and anticipate how this idea will fit into the new material.
  5. Each week dedicate 30-60 minutes to reviewing the following:
    • The theory covered that week (and previously).
    • The processes you developed to solve the problems discussed that week (and previously).
  6. Take notes that are not destined for the landfill. What do you need to write down so that your future (forgetful/confused) self will immediately understand what you are currently understand?


Collected Assignments

See Canvas for due dates.

Big Picture - Expectation

Big Picture - Statistical Analysis

Data Analysis Project

This project give students the opportunity to develop the following professional competencies:



Confidentiality Agreement

Analysis Project Instructions

Weekly Update Form

Intro to R Assignment (not collected for a grade, an aide for learning how to run statistical analysis in R)
Benefits Data  (can be used to learn to use R)

Resources for Writing/Communicating Data

See the handout summarizing how to better communication data (Handout on Presenting Data Effectively) and some examples of both good, better, and bad charts (Examples of Charts).  Both handouts are based on the book by Cole Knaflic and the graphics are taken directly from the book.

Students can access an online copy of Storytelling with Data by Knaflic through the Mack Library Resources.

Communicating Inferential Stats Effectively

APA Guidelines for citing statistics:   the following are helpful sites, you are welcome to use others

Purdue Online Writing Lab
Illinois State University - Dr. Jeffrey Kahn
University of Washington
Statistics Solutions

Recommended Homework Problems

Ch 3:  # 4, 7, 9, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 24, 25, 31, 33, 37, 39
Ch 4:  # 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 19, 21, 23, 30, 31, 32, 33, 37
Ch 8:  # 3, 63, 66, 67, 69, 71, 73, 75, 79, 81
Ch 13: # 19, 25-31, 33a, 42-44, 47-48, 53, 57-59, 61, 63, 67, 73, 75, 77, 84-86 (include English for every problem that needs it) ... Ch 13 HT Handout
Ch 11: # 20-23, 28-30, 32, 34-36, 38, 39, 43, 49-54 (include English for every problem)
Ch 15:  # 17, 19 (include English for every problem)
Ch 14:  # 41, 43, 45 (include English for every problem)

Ch 1:  # 1-3, 8-10, 24-57 (for #24-57, you probably won't be able to work all the problems, but you will benefit greatly from making sure you work all the "different" kinds of problems and identifying which problems are the "same" even though they seem different)
Ch 2: #1a, 2, 3, 6, 7, 11, 15, 18, 19, 22 (assigned in class), 23-26, 30, 42, 43, 51-55, 59-66, 70, 71, 73, 75, 78, 80, 81, 85-87, 89, 91, 93, 99, 103, 105, 110 (for the "number" problems, you probably won't be able to work all the problems, but you will benefit greatly from making sure you work all the "different" kinds of problems and identifying which problems are the "same" even though they seem different)

Ch 5: prove all the things we can prove for all the distributions, 25, 32, 41, 44, 49, 52-54, 57, 59, 62-64, 66, 68-70, 75, 79, 80, 81, 83, 86 (don't use the statistical tables for any of the these, use the formulas and then also the calculator distributions)
Ch 6: #1, 16, 24a, 31, 37, 50, 51, 54-57, 59, 63, 64, 66, 68, 71, 73, 78, 79