Winter 2021 STAT 20010

Course: STAT 20010

Title: Elementary Statistics Through Case Study

Instructor(s): Kendra Burbank

Teaching Assistant(s): TBA

Class Schedule: Section 1: MWF 10:20 AM–11:10 AM (Remote)

Office Hours: 

Textbook(s): Pyrczak, Making Sense of Statistics; Clark, Poisoned City; and Hanna-Attisha, What the Eyes Don't See

Description:  This course uses a single real-world case study to introduce statistical concepts throughout the quarter. Topics include methods for the collection, presentation, analysis, and interpretation of data, including elements of sampling, simple techniques for analysis of means, proportions, and linear association, and an introduction to the statistical programming language R.

The case study examines the development of the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, from its beginnings in 2014 to present day conditions. Students will use statistical techniques learned in the course to probe critical facets of the story, including: the demographics and history of Flint; the evidence for (and uncertainty about) the existence of contamination; statistical mistakes that allowed officials to initially deny the problem; and predictions for future health effects due to the contamination. Throughout the course, students will practice critically examining claims made in the media and in scientific publications. At the end of the quarter, students are asked to use their statistical skills to propose and defend a set of interventions to benefit the children of Flint.

Note(s): STAT 20010 Elementary Statistics Through Case Study covers similar statistical content to STAT 20000 Elementary Statistics. However, while STAT 20000 follows a traditional lecture-based format with textbook, problem sets, and exams, STAT 20010 utilizes small group work and written reports, with a less mathematical focus but a greater emphasis on critical interpretation of real-world data.