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Topic: ABS Capture/Recapture
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Posts: 144
Registered: 12/6/04
ABS Capture/Recapture
Posted: Dec 28, 1996 8:20 AM
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ABS "Capture/Recapture" activity (_Student Guide_, p.126):

I did this in my first class this fall semester--as I recall, Beth Chance
suggested it--and it really was a big hit. The original fish were, I
believe, the Pepperidge Farm cheddar cheese fish; the "marked" fish were
some kind of pretzel-like fish. They need to be quite different in
appearance from the original fish.

I recommend reading Roger Johnson, "How Many Fish are in the Pond?",
_Teaching Statistics_, vol.18, no.1, Spring 1966 before doing this one.
Johnson suggests several ways to capitalize on this activity, as well as
supplying code for a Minitab "exec" macro for simulating the
capture/recapture process. Furthermore, he points out that there is
"substantial bias and variability" in the usual estimator. This was what
I emphasized in my first encounter with my students this semester: an
introduction to bias and variability; see Moore & McCabe, p.261 ff.

Extension 3 to the U.S. Census makes it clear that this is not just an
idle game.

Bruce King
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Western Connecticut State University
181 White Street
Danbury, CT 06810

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