Math 150: Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Spring 2015


The final exam is on May 1st from 1:30pm to 4:30pm in the same classroom we've used all semester.

Midterm 2 is on Wednesday April 15. The midterm will cover chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 and a bit from Chapter 3. The sections are covered in HW 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

For Wednesday's class (April 8), do the following:

  1. Learn how to do bicycle kicks and jumping jacks are. You can a how-to videos here:
    Bicycle Kicks,
    Jumping Jacks.
  2. Learn how to measure your heart rate. Instructions are below:
    How to measure your pulse.
  3. Now flip a coin.
    If it comes out Heads, do the following:
    • Do jumping jacks for 30 seconds.
    • Immediately measure your heart rate and write it down (pointing out it was the heart rate after the jumping jacks).
    • Take a 1 minute break.
    • Now do bicyle kicks for 30 seconds.
    • Immediately measure your heart rate and write it down (pointing out it was the heart rate after the bicycle kicks).
    If it came out Tails, then
    • Do bicycle jacks for 30 seconds.
    • Immediately measure your heart rate and write it down (pointing out it was the heart rate after the bicycle kicks).
    • Take a 1 minute break.
    • Now do jumping jacks for 30 seconds.
    • Immediately measure your heart rate and write it down (pointing out it was the heart rate after the jumping jacks kicks).

Check out this π Day video where they use different techniques to try to estimate π. The one that worked the best in the video is Buffon's Needle (the one we did in class).

First announcement: Please fill out the survey on this link. The survey will take you approximately 45 minutes to complete. When filling out the survey you will probably encounter several questions you don't know how to solve. That is okay. The survey is not meant to evaluate you, but to create a baseline of what students know before taking this course. After you complete the survey, I will get confirmation that you completed it. You have to complete the survey by January 14 at 10am to get credit. Completing this survey counts as one of your homework assignments. If you don't complete the survey you will lose part of your homework grade.


Introduction to Statistical Investigations (Preliminary edition) by Nathan Tintle, Beth Chance, George Cobb, Allan Rossman, Soma Roy, Todd Swanson, and Jill VanderStoep.

Tentative schedule of topics covered

This schedule is subject to change, but it should give you an idea of the topics we will cover.



Sections in the textbook


Week 1 Prelim
Week 2 Chapter 1
Week 3 Chapter 1 January 26 is the last day to make a registration change (including the credit-D-fail option).  
Week 4 Quiz and Chap. 2 Quiz 1 will be on February 2.
Week 5 Chapters 2 and 3
Week 6 Chapter 3 Review on February 20.
Week 7 Midterm 1 and Chapter 4 Midterm 1 on February 23.
Week 8 Chapter 4
Week 9 Spring Break No class from March 9 to March 13.
Week 10 Chapter 5
Week 11 Quiz and Chap. 6 March 23 is also the last day to withdraw from a course with an automatic W.
Week 12 Chapters 6 and 7 Quiz 2 is on March 30.
Week 13 Chapter 8
Week 14 Midterm 2 and Chapter 9 Review on April 13 and the midterm is on April 15.
Week 15 Chapters 9 and 10
Week 16 Review The last day of classes is Monday April 28.

Since the table doesn't describe what is covered on each chapter, below I include the titles per chapter (which give a little more information):

Preliminaries: Introduction to Statistical Investigations
In this preliminary chapter we learn about exploring data and random processes.
Chapter 1: Significance: How strong is the evidence?
In this chapter we learn how to measure the strength evidence and how we can make inferences (for example using the normal distribution).
Chapter 2: Generalization: How broadly do the results apply?
We learn about sampling, measuring error and calculating the significance.
Chapter 3: Estimation: How large is the effect?
In this chapter we learn what confidence intervals mean and how to calculate them.
Chapter 4: Causation: Can we say what cause the effect?
In this chapter we will discuss questions of the type: "Are smokers more likely than nonsmokers to have lung cancer?", i.e., we are interested in comparing two groups.
Chapter 5: Comparing two proportions
Chapter 6: Comparing two means
Chapter 7: Paired date: one quantitative variable
Chapter 8: Comparing more than two proportions
Chapter 9: Comparing more than two means
Chapter 10: Two quantitative variables


The course grade will be based on:
Class assignments             10%,
Homework assignments    10%,
Quiz 1                                5%,
Quiz 2                                5%,
Midterm 1                          20%,
Midterm 2                          20%,
Final Exam                        30%.

Applets and other resources

This course uses simulation-based methods to teach statistical inference. The goal is for the student to understand the concepts better. Because we will need to create random data we will use applets designed by the authors of the textbook. Below I include important links:
Applets and data sets: All the applets and data sets can be found on this useful link.
Applets: This link has an applet that can easily interchange between all applets as opposed to having to decide the applet ahead of time in the above link.
Data sets: Another link to the data sets. They can also be found in the first link.

Homework and Class assignments

There will be written homework due roughly every week. Collaboration in the homework is permitted, but you are not allowed to copy someone else's work. The solutions must be written individually. The homeworks will be posted in the Announcements section and also on this link.

The homework problems will be designed to reinforce ideas and develop your logical reasoning abilities. Late HW will NOT be accepted.

Besides homework assignments to be turned in roughly every week, you will often work in the classroom on activities. When doing so, I will give you three possible grades (per assignment): Complete, Partial, Fail. For example missing a class on which there is an assignment would count as a Fail.

Quizzes, Midterms and Final Exam

On the quizzes, midterms and the final exam you must work on the problems on your own. No collaboration permitted in the exams. Also, no calculators or notes are permitted. A simple calculator will be provided to you for the exam.
Quiz 1 will be after completing Chapter 1. It will be on Wednesday February 4.
Quiz 2 will be after completing Chapter 5. An approximate date for this is March 23. It is now set for March 30.
The first midterm will be on Monday February 23.

The second midterm will be on Wednesday April 15.

The final exam will be a cumulutive three hour exam.

The date for the final exam is Friday May 1 from 1:30pm to 4:30pm.


Students are expected to come to every lecture and every exam. If the dates of the exams conflict with Lake Forest approved events, inform me as soon as possible.


Accommodations Statement

If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please consult with The Learning and Teaching Center. Since accommodations may require early planning and are not retroactive, please contact the center as soon as possible. For details about the services for students with disabilities and the accomodations process, visit

You are also welcome to contact me privately to discuss your academic needs. However, all disability-related accommodations must be arranged through Teryn Robinson at the Learning and Teaching Center.

Last modified on May 5, 2015.