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Normal Probability Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Used in Course: Not used in course
Submitted by: Julie Nelson (Faculty), Jul 13, 2001
Comment: I have used the Normal Tool in class as an instructional aid while teaching
statistics for economists. My experience has been that the Normal Tool is an
excellent means of helping students understand key concepts such as the
relationship between the standard deviation and the spread of a distribution,
what probability distributions are (in a meaningful way), and what it means when
a specificr observation falls at a particular point in a distribution. Once my
students get the hang of using the tool (as a group, we use a computer lab so
that I can help them on an individual basis at first), some students get carried
away playing with it and don't want to quit. When they begin to see the
connections between the functions of the Normal Tool and the topics we have been
covering in class, they have "aha" moments that are really pretty exciting for
me. It has made teaching that particular part of my course fun for me and, I
believe, more enjoyable and productive for my students.

With instructions, it takes just a couple of minutes for first-timers to become
comfortable with using the Normal Tool. Once they get it, they're fine on their

I highly recommend using the Normal Tool as a means of helping students obtain a
meaningful understanding of probability distributions, standard deviations,
population parameters, and so on.