U.S. Coins Project


This is an applied statistics course, which means that we will be working with applications of statistics. We're going to concentrate more on what the results mean and less on the mechanics needed to get the results. We will do very little paper and pencil calculations in this course. However, we will be using the computer and the Minitab software to do the calculations for us.

Each chapter in your text ends with a very brief summary of how to do the things covered in that section using different statistical packages, but it is very limited and doesn't really have any real-life data to go along with those instructions.

The purpose of this project is to have you collect data and then analyze it with the computer and explain the results. The book consistently emphasizes the who, what, where, when, why, and how of data and the three rules of data analysis, which are 1) make a picture, 2) make a picture, and 3) make a picture.

This is a group project and you may have up to three people in a group. You should turn in one technology project for the entire group, not one per person. The entire group should work on the project and participation is 20% of the grade. If you can't find time to work together, you may, for example, assign one person to collect the data, another to do the Minitab analysis, and the third to write up the report that goes with it.

Using the Computer

I realize that most of you have not used Minitab or other statistical software before, so I've written some notes that will help you with the Minitab steps. These can be found under the "Coin Project" link from the Math 113 home page. You will want to have these notes open while you're working with Minitab. What I suggest is having one person in the group open up the Minitab notes on one computer and another person open up Minitab and Microsoft Word on another. The computers in our classroom have LCD panels on top of the desk, so you should be able to see each other's computer screens to follow what they're doing.

Do not print out the Minitab instructions for following the project, just follow them from the screen.

That way, should they need correcting, I can correct them, you can refresh the screen, and we won't have wasted the paper.

For this project, collect your data and enter it into an Excel spreadsheet. The instructor will merge all of your data files together to make one file with all of the class results.

You will also be highlighting and copying the output from Minitab and pasting it into Microsoft Word, so you'll want to start both programs when you're working on the project. I have found that pasting information into Word works best if you have typed information and left a blank line or two where you want the graph to go. If you paste the graph before you have any text, it can be difficult to get the text to look properly.

For those of you who prefer to use the mouse, you can right click the mouse button in either Minitab or Word and choose Copy or Paste. For those who prefer the keyboard, control-C stands for Copy and control-V for paste. To switch between applications, you can either go to the bottom of the screen with the mouse and click on the other application or you can use alt-Tab to switch between open windows.

When you log into the computer, be sure you log in as the "math" user. This will give you access to the U drive (U:) on the computer. The U: is set up so that you can save your files there and then get access to them from anywhere in the College. This means that you can start your work in the classroom, but finish it in the open computer lab in room C239. It also means that you can start on one computer and then someone else in your group can pull it up on another computer in the classroom and continue working on it.

On the U drive, there are folders set up for each of the sections of Math 113. These are called "01", "02", and "03". Inside of those folders, you will find a folder called "coins". You should start by opening the coin project template file in Word format from the web page and then saving your copy of it into the U:\01\COINS\ folder on the U drive. Use a name that is unique to your group (like the names of the members) and be sure each person in the group knows what you're naming the file.

Because the files are shared across a network, it is possible that more than one person can have the file open at a time. This is a very bad idea. If you ever do it, make sure that only one of you makes changes to the file. If more than one of you makes changes, then when you save it, you'll overwrite the other persons changes and lose them. For that purpose, it is best to have one person working with Minitab and Word. It is possible to create two or even three Word documents and then copy and paste them together to make the final report if you want to have more than one person work on things at a time. Just be sure you use different file names if you're going to do this.

Project Grade

This project is worth 50 points.

The final project and peer evaluations must be in Word format and emailed to the instructor at james@richland.edu

Participation Grade / Peer Evaluation

Turn in a summary paragraph of what each person in the group (including yourself) did and how many points out of ten you would give them for their effort. Be sure to put your name, section number, and what the assignment is at the top of the sheet.

These evaluations should be typed up individually and emailed to the instructor. The other students in the group will not see what you wrote about them, just the average score they got from all of the students.

You need to evaluate everyone in the group including yourself. Even if you're the only person in the group and did all of the work, you still need to evaluate yourself or you'll miss out on the participation grade.

When the instructor grades your evaluation, he is looking for things like the quantity and quality of material written about each person, whether the evaluation was submitted on time, whether the instructions were followed, etc.

There will be a semester project where you will be asked to evaluate the people in your group. That evaluation will follow the same format described here

Sample Evaluation

Bob Johnson
Math 113-01
Coin Project Peer Evaluations

John Smith - 10
John was an excellent worker who attended every meeting. He supplied all the coins and typed the information it into Excel for us. He explained where we were going wrong on creating the histogram.

Elizabeth Miller - 10
Liz was a hard worker, too. She showed up for every meeting except one and ran Minitab and pasted the output into Word. She also typed up the explanation in Word, so even though she missed the one meeting, she deserves all the points.

Bob Johnson - 4
I'm a bum. I missed half the meetings and let John and Elizabeth do the whole thing. I did tell them how to spell my name, though.There is another 10 point participation grade for this project. Your score will be a combination of the scores given you by each member of the group and the instructor's evaluation of your evaluation.

Rubric for Assessment

The 35 points for the actual report is determined by the instructor based on how well you address the who, what, where, when, why, how of the data, make pictures, and answer the questions asked. It is not sufficient to merely copy the Minitab output into Word, put your names on it, and turn it in. Be sure you explain what you're looking at. The mantra in the class is Think, Show, Tell. Be sure you do this for these projects.

The grade that you receive for the project will be based on the following rubric. This 35 point portion of the grade is based on the group effort. Each member of the group will receive an identical score.

Goal Excellent (5 pts) Average (3 pts) Poor (1 pt)
Identification The full name of each group member is given and correctly spelt At least one full name is missing or spelt incorrectly The first names of the group members are given
Organization Each question is identified by the question number and the text of the question. Questions are identified only by number or are out of order Questions are not identified
Annotation All of the output (text or graph) from Minitab has an explanation Most of the outputs have accompanying explanations Few outputs have accompanying explanations
Completeness Each question is fully answered Parts of one or more questions are not answered Several parts or a complete question is unanswered
Explanations Questions are answered with complete sentences and in detail Most questions have detailed responses and are complete sentences Responses are not complete sentences or little thought has been given to responses.
BS-O-Meter The responses indicate the group knows what they're talking about The group mostly knows what they're talking about but in some cases it's obvious they don't The group is trying to fill space but for the most part, they're clueless
Correctness There are only a few minor errors in the output or descriptions There is a major error or several minor errors in the output or descriptions There are some major or many minor errors in the output or descriptions

Note: BS-O-Meter is pronounced buh-saw-muh-tur

Due Dates

The due dates are listed on the class calendar. Late material will be accepted, but you will lose 10% of the value per class period.