Math 121 - Fall 2020

Basic Info



  Lecture     Date     Section     Topic     Notes     Homework  
1 8/24   1.2     Data basics          
2 8/26   1.3     Sampling principles and strategies     Week 1      
3 8/28   1.4     Experiments          
4 8/31   2.1     Examining numerical data          
5 9/02   2.1     Examining numerical data - con’d     Week 2     HW 1  
6 9/04   2.2     Considering categorical data      
7 9/07   3.1     Defining probability          
8 9/09   3.2     Tree diagrams     Week 3      
9 9/11       Midterm 1          
10 9/14   3.2     Conditional probability          
11 9/16   3.4     Weighted averages & expected value     Week 4     HW 2  
12 9/18   3.4     Random variables          
13 9/21   3.5     Continuous distributions          
14 9/23   4.1     Normal distribution     Week 5       HW 3    
15 9/25   5.1     Point estimates and sampling variability          
16 9/28   5.1     Point estimates and sampling variability          
17 9/30       Midterm 2     Week 6      
18 10/02   5.2     Confidence intervals for a proportion          
19 10/05   5.3     Hypothesis testing for a proportion          
20 10/07   6.1     Inference for a single proportion     Week 7     HW 4  
21 10/09   6.2     Difference of two proportions          
22 10/12   7.1     One sample means with the t-distribution          
23 10/14       Midterm 3     Week 8      
24 10/16   7.3     Difference of two means          
25 10/19   7.2     Paired data          
26 10/21   8.1     Fitting a line, residuals, and correlation     Week 9     HW 5  
27 10/23   8.2     Least squares regression          
28 10/26   6.4     Testing for independence in two-way tables          
29 10/28       Review     Week 10     HW 6  
30 10/30       Midterm 4          

Course Description

Math 121 will cover most of chapters 1-8 in OpenIntro Stats, on representing and summarizing data, sampling, probability, statistical inference, and linear regression.

Attendance Policy

In order to master a subject like statistics, regular attendance is crucial. However, if you have a fever or are not feeling well, then please do not come to class that day. As long as you let me know the reason for your absence, I will do my best to help you stay caught up and make up any material that you missed. The key is to communicate with me when you aren’t able to attend class.

Office Hours

My office hours are shown above on my weekly schedule. I am also available by appointment. My office is Blake B-02, which is one of the Blake apartments. You can find it on this map. It looks like a student apartment, but I am using it as my office while the new science building is being built. During my regularly scheduled office hours the front door should be unlocked, so feel free to come in. I’ll be right upstairs. If you would prefer to schedule online office hours, let me know and I’ll be happy to set up a Zoom meeting.

Grading Policy

The term grade will be based on the results of the examinations and homework.

Component     Proportion    
Homework 40%
Midterm 1 10%
Midterm 2 10%
Midterm 3 10%
Midterm 4 10%
Final Exam 20%


There will be four in-class midterm exams and a cumulative final. The exams will be closed book. You are allowed to use a scientific or graphing calculator during the exams. You may also use your cellphone as a calculator, but you may not use your phone for any other purpose during exams.


There will be several homework assignments throughout the semester. You solutions should be submitted to me by e-mail as a PDF file. You can complete the homework on a computer (using MicrosoftWord or similar software) or you can scan your written homework. I recommend using the CamScanner app which is available for free for both Android and iOS.

The best thing you can do to succeed in this class is to make sure that you keep up with and understand all of the homework. Here is a little advice on how to get the most credit out of your homework, with the least work.

  1. Read twice. Questions in statistics are often wordy. Read each question twice before you try to answer. Make sure you understand exactly what the question is asking. If you don’t, then ask me in class or during my office hours.

  2. Keep it simple. I don’t want long essay answers. I want you to write a short answer that mentions the key concept. I’m usually looking for one or two keywords, not for a detailed exposition. If you can figure out the keyword or concept that applies, then just write a short one or two sentence answer to explain how it fits.

  3. Double check. After you think you have an answer, re-read the question again. Make sure that your answer actually answers the question that is being asked.

  4. Don’t get stuck. If you spend more than 5 minutes without knowing how to approach a problem, then move on. Circle the question you don’t understand and ask me or one of the statistics tutors about it later. Don’t waste your time being stuck.

All of this advice applies to exams too!

Special Accommodations

In compliance with the Hampden-Sydney College policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that may be recommended for students with disabilities. Requests for academic accommodations are to be made at the beginning of the semester (except for unusual circumstances) so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Students are required to contact the Office of Academic Success in order to verify their eligibility for appropriate accommodations.

Virtual Learning Plan

If we need to switch to an online virtual course at any point during the semester, the basic outline and schedule of topics for the course will remain the same. I will provide asynchronous video guided notes and workshops to help learn the material. I will also divide the class into smaller groups and schedule Zoom meetings during our regular class time (MWF 10:00 - 11:10am & R 2:30 - 3:40pm) where we can go over the material in more detail. I may also incorporate a short oral examination as part of one or more of the midterm or final exams. If you know that you will have trouble with Zoom from home, please let me know.