Math. Model. Nat. Phenom.
Volume 6, Number 6, 2011Biomathematics Education
|Page(s)||76 - 95|
|Published online||05 October 2011|
The p and the Peas: An Intuitive Modeling Approach to Hypothesis Testing
Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology University of
Minnesota Rochester, Rochester
2 BioQUEST, Biology Department, Beloit College, Beloit WI †
⋆ Corresponding author. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We propose a novel approach to introducing hypothesis testing into the biology curriculum. Instead of telling students the hypothesis and what kind of data to collect followed by a rigid recipe of testing the hypothesis with a given test statistic, we ask students to develop a hypothesis and a mathematical model that describes the null hypothesis. Simulation of the model under the null hypothesis allows students to compare their experimental data to what they would expect under the null hypothesis, thus leading to a much more intuitive understanding of hypothesis testing. This approach has been tested both in the classroom and in faculty workshops, and we provide some suggestions for implementations based on our experiences.
Mathematics Subject Classification: 62-01 / 62F03 / 92-01 / 97U50
Key words: data analysis / hypothesis testing / mathematical and biological reasoning / model building / model revision / normal distribution / peas / probability / sampling / seed development
© EDP Sciences, 2011
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