Stats Made Easy

Practical Tools for Effective Experimentation

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Statistics so simple the only a child can do it

My youngest daughter, a senior in high school, asked me to help her with homework the other night: “Dad do you know anything about Z-scores?” :)

I am always happy to help with math or stats. However, it often proves challenging to not just get the correct answer, but also to follow the latest educational methodology.

My colleague Tryg passed along this ‘number-hummer’ by mathematician/satirist Tom Lehrer:

Hooray for new math,
It won't do you a bit of good to review math.
It's so simple,
So very simple,
That only a child can do it!

If you can spare about 4 minutes, view this clever math/music video of Lehrer singing this song, including a verse on base 8 (“just like base 10…if you are missing two fingers”).

After many years of seeing my good deeds for helping with math homework not go unpunished, my oldest daughter admitted once that I had explained something “way better than the teacher or the book.” :)

As the British gamesman Nubar Gulbenkian said “The worse you play, the better you remember the occasional good shot.” This works well for me in golf and also math/stats – fields where I frequently fare poorly, but every so often, hit the sweet spot.


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