# Questions tagged [probability]

For questions about the teaching of probability, dealing with students misconceptions in probability, and explaining probability theory paradoxes.

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### Why can't I teach that picking (un)popular integers doesn't lower Probability of winning lotteries?

Every year at my secondary school, some student always insists that "picking unpopular numbers" lowers your probability of winning lotteries, as follows. Presuppose that lotteries let ...
248 views

### The easy and the hard problems involving independent events

In probability, two events are independent if the incidence of one event does not affect the probability of the other event. Math textbooks often have a problem checking if two events are independent ...
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324 views

### Correct notation of a Sample space

From the very beginning I have used the notation $S = \{ H , T \}$ as the Sample space for tossing a coin once and $S = \{ HH , HT , TH , TT \}$ in the case of tossing a coin twice.I have several ...
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### Markov chains - how to translate mathematically the fact that the state at $n+1$ only depends on the state at $n$? [closed]

In a Markov chain of, say, three states $1,2,3$, when proving that the probabilistic state at $n+1$ ($\pi_n$) is equal to the probabilistic state at $n$ times the transition matrix, one has to use the ...
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### How to prove, without the LOTUS formula, to student that $V[aX+b]= a^2 V[X]$?

The mainstream way to show $V[aX+b]= a^2 V[X]$ is by using LOTUS. However, LOTUS seems to me too powerful and out-of-reach for a last-year high-school student. Therefore I was wondering if we could ...
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### Does some textbook on probability use a particular way (described here) of accomplishing the segue into continuous distributions?

Imagine an introductory probability course that assumes the students have had first-year calculus and understand mathematical reasoning. At some point in such a course has explicated several families ...
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### Should I choose Cox-based Jaynes' approach or Kolmogorov approach to base myself on to teach probabilities to high-school students?

I am planning to become a math high-school teacher and have the following question: What Probability Theory should I base myself on to teach probabilities to students ? The classical approach is via ...
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1k views

### Special topics for introductory probability

I am helping to design a low-level college course whose purpose is to teach critical thinking, logic, finance and probability. I have been tasked with developing the probability section. I am ...
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### PROBABILITY QUESTION [closed]

How to solve this probability question?f a, b, and c are in the range [0, 1], what is the probability that the quadratic equation ax^2 + bx + c has real solutions? justify your answer! This question ...
1 vote
238 views

### Online Probability Simulation for Compound Events

I'm teaching Grade 9 Probability. We need to compare Experiment Probabilities (Relative Frequencies) with Theoretical Probabilities for Simple and Compound Events. I want to come up with and Online ...
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### Seeking References on Deterministic and Stochastic Phenomena Suitable for High School Students

Can anyone recommend good and didactic references that delve into the dualism between deterministic and stochastic phenomena? Ideally, I'm seeking materials that provide a conceptual explanation along ...
1 vote
85 views

### Discrete Probability Modeling with Desmos or Spreadsheets

In my Finite Math course* almost every section includes a part where students have to create a file (from scratch) in Desmos or in Google Sheets. For example, they use Desmos to plot piecewise linear ...
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### Law of large numbers as a middle school topic?

My daughter (a biologist) is presently teaching also math at a middle school (9th grade, so about 14 years olds). Now the topic in probability seems to be the law of large numbers! More and more I ...
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### Common mistakes in probability

$\DeclareMathOperator\Var{Var}\DeclareMathOperator\Bern{Bern}\DeclareMathOperator\Pois{Pois}$Question: What not-trivial mistakes do students often make when solving problems in probability theory, ...
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### How to teach the concept of probability distribution?

I observed that my students do not understand what a probability distribution is. We do not treat probability axiomatically on the course, so the required level of understanding is knowing all the ...
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### Examples of random variables that are measurable with respect to a strict subset of $\mathcal{P}(\Omega)$

When teaching random variables for the first time, most of us say that it is a function $$X : \Omega \to \mathbb{R}$$ without any further restriction. Of course, a more general definition is to say ...
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### Best natural language(s) for conveying, conceptualizing, teaching, understanding, and learning Probabilistic & Statistical concepts & theory?

English can be precise but it is rather 'flowery' and easily gets in its' own way. East-Asian natural languages like Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Japanese are notorious for permitting the ...
172 views

### Is it weird for an undergrad or grad quant/applied maths(/even pure maths) programme to not teach that probabilities of 0 or 1 will never change? [closed]

Edit: i didn't mean it like this programme should do this or that. i mean other people are accusing me like 'your programme should've had this or that' (actually they're saying that i should know this ...
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1 vote
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### Best books for mathematical statistics self-study?

I'm hoping to start a masters in mathematics in the fall, and am hoping to find a good book on mathematical statistics to study so that I'll be able to take graduate level mathematical statistics once ...
77 views

### Code for Urn (containing colored balls) generator? [duplicate]

I am interested in code that generates an urn with various colored balls for an economics experiment. I came across this thread: Urn (containing colored balls) generator? However, the server that the ...
289 views

### Probability — analytical results instead of simulations

After students learn how to use probabilistic simulations, what strategies can one use to encourage them to understand analytical results anyway? For example, I'm struggling to find a compelling ...
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1 vote
137 views

### How can I effectively learn and master Math and Statistics for Data Science?

I completed a BSc in Computer Science recently and am going on to do an MSc in Data Science. However, the only focussed math module I had during CS was in the first year and I didn't do too well. I ...
190 views

### Not sure what a student is misunderstanding on this Stat question

Here is the solution I presented: (a) P(G|B) = (5/24) * (.125) = .026. Since you select ONE senior manager, then P(B) is 4/23. Now, if we are dealing with a second employee who is also a senior ...
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### Difficulty in explaining sample space

I am running into problems explaining to my students in high school what exactly is sample space in probabilities, especially with identical objects. For example, according to Q6.2.3 of this UIC ...
243 views

### What story and one-digit Natural Numbers best fit Bayes' Theorem chart?

Some students have sniveled that most examples of Bayes' Theorem use non-integer numbers. I want to try a Bayes' Theorem chart that uses just single digit Natural Numbers $\le 9$. To complete the ...
17k views

### How to explain that winning the lottery is not a 50/50 distribution?

When casually discussing with my 13 yo child about probabilities, he told me there is a 50% chance to win at the lottery To what I said no, there is a 1 chance over 90 million (I roughly estimated ...
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1 vote
224 views

### Cautionary tales for Gaussians/the central limit theorem?

In any undergraduate course on probability, one of the fundamental results that is discussed is the central limit theorem. Apart from the interesting mathematics needed to prove the result (most often ...
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### Transition into a non-explicit sample space world

This is one of the problem taunting me over years while explaining probability. In most of the high-school as well as graduate textbooks, there are at most very few lines to deal with this problem. ...
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### Best resources for probability/statistics textbooks

I'm looking for a good textbook introduction to probability/statistics that a first/second year undergrad math student could use! I'd like a book that emphasizes theory over procedure. I'd prefer an ...
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### EdX Courses for Self-Study

I have been independently considering two edX courses in mathematics. The first, a course on probability theory drawing from a financial crisis case study, appeared to me plausibly comparable in ...
136 views

### How to emulate erf and/or the Normal Inverse function in Moodle?

I've just discovered "calculated questions" in Moodle and I'm trying to create a simple one where I would be asking the student to find the probability that an observation from a standard normal ...
2k views

### Why do you need to distinguish between apparently identical objects in probability?

In the math class I taught today I was asked a question, and I was unable to give a good answer. The problem was as follows: A certain factory produces throat tablets. In each pack, there are from 48 ...
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### The most transparent exposition of Bayes' Theorem

I am seeking the most transparent exposition of Bayes' Theorem (for undergraduates). I would prefer to avoid mentioning "prior" and "posterior," and instead focus on frequencies. The Wikipedia entry ...
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### A Markov chain demonstration that doesn't require computers

I have a large probability class and would like to do some memorable demonstrations of Markov chains for them. Does anyone have any recommendations for a "low-tech" demo that doesn't involve ...
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### Better ways to explain mutually exclusiveness and dependency of events

I am teaching probability on mutually exclusiveness and dependency of events. Let me take a simple example as follows. A box contains 2 red balls and 3 purple balls. They are identical except for ...
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### What does "Four selected students are not born in the same months" mean?

I am teaching on probability. I found a question that seems to be ambiguous as follows. Four students are randomly chosen from a place. Assuming the birthdays of people are equally likely to occur ...
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### How to explain the sample space of Monty Hall problem?

I am now pretending to be a newbie student. I write the following sample space for the Monty Hall problem (It is a famous brain teaser, I assume you know it).  S=\{ (C,G1),(C,G2), (G1,G2), (G2,G1) \...
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142 views

### Why emphasize moment generating function over characteristic function in a probability course?

I've noticed that some undergraduate introductory probability textbooks and courses emphasize or seem to prefer the moment generating function $m(t) = \mathbf E(e^{tX})$ of a random variable $X$ ...
206 views

### Encouraging students to learn probability

Background: I’m not exactly a Math educator, but I’m currently a TA of an elementary algebra course aiming at students of age 14-15. I found that a lot of people have misconception about probability ...
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### What is the best term for "probability measure" in an undergrad introduction to probability course?

The function $P$ that takes an event $A$ as input and returns the probability $P(A)$ as output is called a "probability measure" when we are developing probability using measure theory. I have also ...
279 views

### Urn (containing colored balls) generator?

I am looking for a nice app that would enable me to create "automatically" nice urns filled with balls of two different colors, following the illustration below (actual colors do not matter, being ...
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### Why aren't Bayesian Networks and Variable Elimination introduced earlier?

Throughout my undergrad, I dreaded probability. I hated it, I was horrible in it, I just never got it, and felt stupid when the professors used "summation/marginalization" equations out of the blue to ...
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### Neat topics or problems to include in a probability class

I'd like to get suggestions for neat topics or problems to include in an undergraduate, upper division Introduction to Probability class. Many people have taught probability for many years and I'm ...
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### How to convince the following probability problem to highschool student?

I will present two problems alongside solutions, student is doing problems of type I like a cakewalk but has several issues with the problems of type 2; Type I Consider an experiment of rolling ...
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### Real-world Markov chains

I will give a talk to undergrad students about Markov chains. I would like to present several concrete real-world examples. However, I am not good with coming up with them beyond drunk man taking ...
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### Examples showing necessity and advantage of emperical definition of probability

As the title, I want to ask for some examples showing necessity and advantage of emperical definition of probability in teaching high school students. We knew that the classical definition has some ...
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### How to best explain that the sum of conditional probabilities still sum to 1

I am comfortable with explaining to my high school students that for an event $A$ we have that $P(A) + P(A^C) = 1$ But what is the best way to help students realize that \$P(A \mid B) + P(A^C \mid ...
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### Common misconceptions in high school probability curriculum

I am teaching probability to high school students. The material we are covering is pretty standard and includes: Introducing how to calculate the probability of events, e.g. coin flips, card draws, ...
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### Moving from discrete probability distributions to continuous ones

I'm teaching an introductory statistics class at a community college, and we've just finished a unit on discrete probability. At the moment, the students' conception of the probability of an event A ...
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