Q&A #19202

Probability /statistics simulations

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From: Claire (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jan 09, 2008 at 15:11:25
Subject: Re: Probability /statistics simulations

Hi, Sheila --

Thanks for writing to T2T. I assume you mean computer/calculator simulations
and for teaching purposes, as opposed to research.

Without knowing the details of the situation, my general opinion is that
simulations are totally appropriate when you need a larger number of trials
than is manageable with real trials, in order to confirm or reinforce
theoretical expectations.

I'd add a few caveats:

* Students need to understand thoroughly what you are simulating and have
some real experience with it. Otherwise it will seem like hocus-pocus, and we
don't want to give students the impression that math is magical or mysterious.

* The simulation needs to be very carefully constructed to accurately test
what you want it to. You need to be confident that the results are valid.

I hope this is helpful. If you have more specific question, please write

 -Claire, for the T2T service

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