Having Fun With Statistics
A colleague of mine once commented on a symbolic expression he had written on the board, "Summation X sub i, i=1 to N and the DEVIL is loose." My experience with writing this same expression on the board in an introductory course has been that students roll their eyes, the earth suddenly quakes and the instructor is perceived as morphing into a beast with long horns and alien-like skin. Although unwarranted, this is a typical reaction by an undergraduate student in beginning statistics. The word "statistics" strikes fear in the heart of even the boldest of souls. One of my prime objectives in teaching any statistics course is to disple this evil notion that statistics should be aoivded like the plague. Yes, Dorothy, statistics can even be fun and believe it or not, can be a useful tool for you and your little dog Toto.
I view the whole of statistics as a few reoccuring themes. Yes, there are probably no more than a handful of rather simple concepts that pop up over and over again in all courses. Master them and you have unlocked the keys to the magic kingdom! The first of these is called the WFTSM (not much of an acronym is it?). This stands for the World Famous Three Step Method and is a nifty little device for computing the standard deviation without pain or tears. The second theme is referred to as the RFFSM (an even worse acronym). this stands for the Regionally Famous Five Step Method and is a magnificent, foolproof method for testing any statistical hypothesis that you can imagine. These are the TOP TWO themes. I don't want to give all my secrets away in one paragraph. There there would be no need to take any statistics courses.
Above everything else, RELAX, KEEP AN OIPEN MIND, AND LAUGH AT YOURSELF AND THE SUBJECT. Elmer Lemke, a good friend and colleague of mine once said, "You won't have fun unless you make fun!" Practice this and learning statistics will become an enjoyable and valueable experience!
For some great humor in the field of statistics, please visit The First Internet Gallery Of Statistics Jokes, This was created in October of 1997 for all of the readers of my home page to enjoy. The purpose of this subpage is to serve as a repository for any bit or byte of statistical humor that has been or will be discovered. The site has experienced growth every month but we truly need your help. Vist the site often and let us know what you think. You can use our GUESTBOOK or E-MAIL. Remember that the comprehensiveness and ultimate success of this gallery depends on the contributions of YOU the reader. This will be an ongoing project, so keep us in mind whenever you encounter those rare gems of levity.
For more statistical fun, visit the Archives of Statistics Fun. This contains teaching and study tips, anecdotes, and fun experiments that originally appeard on this page and will be the future home of new fun topics that we plan to create.
Many people feel that statistics is a cut and dried subject. To show that statisticians do have their differences (No pun intended.) and controversies, a bi-monthly column called Sticky Stat Wickets was born in late 2007 and now the collection appears as a spearate archived page. This also is a good place for beginning students to pick up a lot of helpful tips on basic statistics. We like to refer to this page as our Serious Stat Business.
Finally, for some inceplicable reason, statisticians must have been shoe salespersons in a former life. In case you haven't noticed, statisticians stare down at their shoes a lot and admire their cordovan wing-tip ocfords or their Birkenstocks. Whether it is just shyness, impeccable tastes in footware, or just a plain old foot fetish, statisticians love their shoes. For you own amusement, test your shoemanship skill by taking the New And Improved Expert Shoe Salesperson Quiz and then see how you stack up!