This Java based applet gives students an opportunity to work through confidence interval problems for the mean. The material provides written word problems in which an individual must be able to correctly identify the given parts for a confidence interval calculation, and then be able to use this information to find the confidence interval. It gives step by step prompts to encourage students to choose the correct numbers and "cast of characters".
1. Correctly identify the essential parts for a confidence interval calculation in a word problem. 2. Use the information obtained from that word problem to calculate the confidence interval. 3. Become familiar with the terminology associated with calculating confidence intervals (i.e. margin of error,x-bar,zc,..).
Target Student Population:
Students in introductory statistics including students enrolled in high school AP courses.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students shold have knowlege of statistical notation, have learned the structure of a confidence interval, and understand terminology such as x-bar, standard deviation, and margin of error.
Type of Material:
This site can be used as an out of class assignment for students who want to practice additional problems. It is excellent for basic remedial activity. The lack of a "scoring method" makes it unsuitable for a graded homework assignment.
Java capable web browser. A student will also need a calculator to do calculations required.
Evaluation and Observation
The applet is very simply organized and helps students to develop step by step processes for solving confidence interval problems. This applet requires students to identify component parts of the confidence intervals. The structure of the applet forces students to identify constituent parts of the problem that will be used in the calculation of the confidence interval. The material has a nice display with easy to understand directions and an interface with encouraging and helpful help windows that pop-up when an incorrect answer is given.
Most of the applet is a "plug and chug", which is good for students having difficulty identifying the essential parts of a confidence interval calculation from word problems, but does not encourage conceptual thinking about confidence intervals. The student is not asked to identify the population of interest or the parameter that the confidence interval is expected to contain nor does the applet provide a graphical illustration of the confidence interval.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The teaching-learning goals of the material are easy to identify. The material is relevant to most introductory statistics textbooks, and it is easily accessible. The material is well organized and presented. The help windows are well designed to aid students through the process.
It does not give students any encouragement to think about the assumptions made in constructing the interval and thus does not encourage critical thinking about confidence intervals. There are also minor grammatical errors and some issues with the display of digits that might cause some problems.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The material has a very nice display that is easy to use and follow. The directions are clear and the help boxes are helpful with the right amount of information. The material can be used with a variety of different backgrounds and/or technical skills.