Monday, June 30, 2008

The First Day

Today was our first day of class.

I asked you to tell me your favorite teams and players. Your responses were for teams, Cubs (1), Tigers (3), Red Sox (1), Indians (4), Reds (7), Nats (1), and for current players, Granderson (2), Inge, Wakefield, Verlander, Guillen, M. Ramirez, J. Hamilton, Griffey Jr (3), Arroyo, Dunn, Thome, Ordonez, Garko, and Sizemore.

Did you know what a batting average was? Generally, no -- only 6 out of 17 gave a correct definition of AVG.

What did we learn today? Here are some highlights.

1. We distinguished "small s" statistics from "big s" Statistics -- we are primarily interested in the science of learning from data.

2. We illustrated a statistical investigation starting with the question "Is Tim Wakefield a good pitcher?" We start with a question, collect relevant data, organize, graph, and summarize the data, and draw conclusions that will answer the question of interest.

3. I briefly described the game of baseball -- for extra reading, look at Appendix A of the book.

4. By looking at Lance Berkman's season batting averages, I illustrated using a dotplot and a stemplot to graph data and show the distribution.

5. What do we look for when we graph data? A description of its SHAPE, some statement about AVERAGE value, some statement about SPREAD (give an interval that contains half of the data), and comment on UNUSUAL values or features of the data.

6. By exploring stats on the back of baseball cards, we got some experience in graphing and talking about data distributions.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Welcome to MATH 115 Introduction to Statistics

Welcome to Introduction to Statistics, baseball style.  The goal of this class is "statistical literacy".  That is, we want to you make you better equipped to read and understand statistical thinking as reported in the media.  We'll use baseball as our way of learning about statistics.  Baseball is the most statistical of all sports.  We'll learn a lot about baseball and the statistical thinking about the game.