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Playing with Numbers: Bringing Statistics to Life in the Undergraduate Classroom
Unformatted Document Text:  Nordyke, Moulton and Nesbit  Page 14    easier to stick with Excel. Using SPSS might be more practical if the instructor can schedule occasional days for the class to meet in a computer lab where the instructor can demonstrate using SPSS and students can practice using SPSS during class time. This can be difficult with a large statistics class or if computer lab space on campus is limited. We also think that potentially requiring the students to purchase a textbook that teaches them to use SPSS could be beneficial. Other activities While it was incorporated in most aspects of our classes, the statistical analysis project was not the only activity we designed to stimulate our classes. For certain topics, or due to practical constraints in the creation of the class data set, we developed additional activities to enliven our classrooms and engage our students. Two of these, the terrorism database search and the coca cola experiment are discussed here. The terrorism database search assignment requires students to use two actual research database platforms to create visual and interpret visual representations of data. The primary objective of the assignment is to familiarize students with different types of charts and graphs for organizing data and to teach the advantages and disadvantages of each. The assignment also serves the purpose though of allowing students to get their hands dirty with real world data, the Terrorism Knowledge Base which is maintained by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism and the Global Terrorism Database. One of the limitations of our project relying on the class survey for data is that students are not required to find and work with existing databases, this assignment supplements that experience with data that is not only real but in which most students are somewhat interested. The Coca Cola experiment is a fun way to demonstrate in class the methods necessary for conducting hypothesis tests on independent and dependent samples. Students become the

Authors: Nordyke, Shane., Moulton, Stephanie. and Nesbit, Becky.
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Nordyke, Moulton and Nesbit 
Page 14 
 
easier to stick with Excel. Using SPSS might be more practical if the instructor can schedule
occasional days for the class to meet in a computer lab where the instructor can demonstrate
using SPSS and students can practice using SPSS during class time. This can be difficult with a
large statistics class or if computer lab space on campus is limited. We also think that potentially
requiring the students to purchase a textbook that teaches them to use SPSS could be beneficial.
Other activities
While it was incorporated in most aspects of our classes, the statistical analysis project
was not the only activity we designed to stimulate our classes. For certain topics, or due to
practical constraints in the creation of the class data set, we developed additional activities to
enliven our classrooms and engage our students. Two of these, the terrorism database search and
the coca cola experiment are discussed here. The terrorism database search assignment requires
students to use two actual research database platforms to create visual and interpret visual
representations of data. The primary objective of the assignment is to familiarize students with
different types of charts and graphs for organizing data and to teach the advantages and
disadvantages of each. The assignment also serves the purpose though of allowing students to
get their hands dirty with real world data, the Terrorism Knowledge Base which is maintained by
the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism and the Global Terrorism Database. One
of the limitations of our project relying on the class survey for data is that students are not
required to find and work with existing databases, this assignment supplements that experience
with data that is not only real but in which most students are somewhat interested.
The Coca Cola experiment is a fun way to demonstrate in class the methods necessary for
conducting hypothesis tests on independent and dependent samples. Students become the


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