Math 10 Elementary Statistics

Students: Please take the time to read ALL information on this this page well before the first class; there is a fair amount of information but it will help you properly prepare for this statistics class. There is a reading assignment (see below "Before the first class:" )
Two goals for an introductory course in statistics can be stated:
• To be prepared to deal effectively with statistical situations in the world outside the classroom, and have the know-how as well as the dispositions needed to act as a smart citizen or consumer in a modern society.
• To be prepared to handle, use, or interpret research or statistical data in your academic or professional discipline.

These goals imply that students should emerge from a statistics course with a willingness and interest to think “statistically” in relevant situations.

In order to reach these goals, you should

Feel safe to explore, conjecture, hypothesize, and brainstorm and not be afraid to experiment with applying different (statistical) tools and methods.

Feel comfortable
with temporary confusion or a state of inconclusive results as well as the uncertainty inherent in statistical and probabilistic situations.

in your ability to navigate or “muddle through” intermediate stages, temporary roadblocks, and the decisions needed to reach a certain goal.

Be motivated
to struggle with and keep working on tasks or problems which may require extended investment of energy.

I hope you develop a positive view of statistics and an appreciation for the potential uses of statistics in your future personal and professional areas that will be relevant to you.

Make sure you have read the General Information page as well as this entire introductory page; this may take a bit of time, but it is important to you, and worth it.

Time on Task is an essential ingredient to student success. Do make sure you can dedicate an appropriate amount of time each day, including weekends, for review, homework, and study for this course.

Now for some details about this course:

Read the General Information; you will be responsible for the information contained on this webpage and the General Information page, and what is on the Course Syllabus, as some of all this information will appear on the first minitest.

Make sure you have the time for this class and are mathematically prepared for it. --For some students, it may be a good idea to take Math 11 (to get some basic statistical background) before taking this course.

Special Notes:

This course is not a typical math/stat course - where all you do is substitute a number in a formula and calculate. In fact, much of that kind of work will be done by the calculator. This course is a reading course emphasizing statistical concepts; thus facility with words, sentences, grammar are key to understanding the concepts. You will have to read, interpret, and write explanations of answers, not just compute answers. English language and writing skills are very important to the work in this course. Determining which concept is most appropriate to apply (and thus which program in the calculator to use) will be a key to success in this course.

Time needed for this course: this course requires a great deal of time because you have to

a) learn the statistics concepts of the course. b) learn how to use the calculator; this will take time and patience, as making a "data entry" mistake means you may have to do the work all over again. c) work with others outside of class, so arranging when the group can get together will not be trivial.

This course in part relies on group work, both in and out of class. Group activity (typically 4 in a group, no solo's or pairs!) uses a 'lab' -which typically begins in class, and is completed by the lab group outside of class. Each person in the lab group will be dependent upon, obligated to, and responsible for and to one another for the lab; all labs ultimately comprise a significant amount (roughly a third) of the work in this class.

As we proceed through the quarter, you are under no obligation to work with the same people for all the labs; in fact, it is strongly encouraged that for each new lab you find new lab partners, as you will then begin to learn from many different people in class and see different ways in which to understand, work, and write about the labs. (Because of attrition, you will likely be forming new lab groups anyway.) Check the calendar for start and completion dates for these tasks.

TEXTBOOK: The hard-copy version of the textbook for this course (Introductory Statistics , ) can be obtained at the bookstore (~$ 40), or free downloading (pdf version) at

(Note: If you plan on printing the entire book, it’s probably less expensive to purchase the paperback hard-copy at the Bookstore.)

A basic review of introductory statistics and a statistics glossary is contained in Statistics Summary; it is very much worth your reading it so you can use it as a resource during this term.

Before the first class:

You should read the first chapter, and learn the vocabulary of statistics. These key terms are used throughout the course, hence knowing them is crucial.

population / sample / parameter / statistic / variable / data

(types of data:)  qualitative / quantitative / discrete / continuous

the five basic methods of sampling (name and define)

sample size / sampling with replacement / sampling without replacement

frequency table / frequency / relative frequency / cumulative frequency / cumulative relative frequency /


• Special Optional Items that you should do before the end of the first week of class:

You should completely fill out the Weekly Schedule –the schedule should be filled out for your entire 24/7 time period to make sure you know how you are using your time. Account for virtually every activity: eating, sleeping, driving to school, classes, study times, fun times, etc. Make sure every time slot is accounted for. This process will help you manage your time during this term.

There will be a course syllabus and a calendar you will have to download. You will be responsible for knowing all of their contents. The course syllabus is a document listing the general operating policies and procedures, the testing schedule, assignments, and grading information. Adhere to the calendar, I will not be reminding you of every individual item that is due; that is your responsibility.

To download the syllabus and calendar for this course, click on the following links:

Math 10 Syllabus 8:30 CLASS / 11:30 CLASS and Math 10 Calendar You can then either print the documents or save them to your desktop.

When we conclude chapter 3 you will need the following lab, as it is a revision of the one in the text.

Chapter 3 Lab Rvsd

A few final comments:

The purpose of statistics is to gather information. The ethics of how that information is used can be the basis of discussion in political science, philosophy, and other classes. (See "Ethics" page near end of chapter 1)

To really see and understand how important statistics is in our lives, please read (and I hope you enjoy) the following articles: and Slippery Art of Polling

You may also want to read a (short) article from the NY Times (Human Data Collection) which describes -for better or worse- how companies keep score on all of us -how data collection and statistics affects us in our daily lives. And of course an obvious question might be: how do companies collect the data on us? Or, how accurate might their conclusions be?

During an election season, polling of voters is a key to determining the 'standing' of various candidates. But polling can have its problems: please read What's the Matter with Polling?

I did not include information which is already available on other instructors' webpages:

For Labs, sample tests, etc: ; (check the various Math 10 links in the left-hand column of her page; there are practice problems and test reviews)

other worthy sources: ;  (original textbook author) ; and additional statistics instructors

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