Quantcast

introducing R to high school students

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
20 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

introducing R to high school students

Christopher W Ryan
I participate peripherally on a listserve for middle- and high-school
science teachers. Sometimes questions about graphing or data analysis
come up. I never miss an opportunity to advocate for R. However, the
teachers are often skeptical that their students would be able to
issue commands or write a little code; they think it would be too
difficult. Perhaps this stems from the Microsoft- and
spreadsheet-centered, pointy-clicky culture prevalent in most US
public schools. Then again, I have little experience teaching this age
group, besides my own kids and my Science Olympiad team, so I respect
their concerns and expertise.

I don't know yet what software they generally use, but I suspect MS
Excel and SPSS.

Now I have to put my money where my mouth is. I've offered to visit a
high school and introduce R to some fairly advanced students
participating in a longitudinal 3-year science research class.

I anticipate keeping things very simple:
--objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(), head(), tail()
--how to get data into R
--dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
"rectangular" datasets
--a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force, acceleration)
is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
--simple descriptive statistics
--maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.

Alas, probably more than we would have time to cover.

Has anyone done anything with R in high schools?

Thanks.

--Chris Ryan
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Binghamton Clinical Campus

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Michael Weylandt
In addition to whatever feedback you may get here, you might subscribe
to the SIG-Teaching list for another interested population.

Michael

On Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 10:46 PM, Christopher W Ryan
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> I participate peripherally on a listserve for middle- and high-school
> science teachers. Sometimes questions about graphing or data analysis
> come up. I never miss an opportunity to advocate for R. However, the
> teachers are often skeptical that their students would be able to
> issue commands or write a little code; they think it would be too
> difficult. Perhaps this stems from the Microsoft- and
> spreadsheet-centered, pointy-clicky culture prevalent in most US
> public schools. Then again, I have little experience teaching this age
> group, besides my own kids and my Science Olympiad team, so I respect
> their concerns and expertise.
>
> I don't know yet what software they generally use, but I suspect MS
> Excel and SPSS.
>
> Now I have to put my money where my mouth is. I've offered to visit a
> high school and introduce R to some fairly advanced students
> participating in a longitudinal 3-year science research class.
>
> I anticipate keeping things very simple:
> --objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(), head(), tail()
> --how to get data into R
> --dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
> "rectangular" datasets
> --a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force, acceleration)
> is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
> --simple descriptive statistics
> --maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.
>
> Alas, probably more than we would have time to cover.
>
> Has anyone done anything with R in high schools?
>
> Thanks.
>
> --Chris Ryan
> SUNY Upstate Medical University
> Binghamton Clinical Campus
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Indrajit Sen Gupta
In reply to this post by Christopher W Ryan
Hi Chris,
 
I am not sure, whether introducing R to High School students would be a good idea as I feel we should encourage students to sketch the graphs in paper to get their concepts right. Excel is fine, but - if I write an equation on the board, will the student be able to visualize its graph? Allowing students to use software to plot graphs at a very early age may hinder that learning. What I would focus on (as the teacher pointed out - that they may not be able to write code) - is being able to write simple codes to get a grasp on programming (they can use QBASIC which is one of the simplest programming softwares).
 
R to my mind should be introduced at an undergraduate level - where they are able to use its real power (vectors, matrices, graphics etc.).
 
Thats my view :)
 
Regards,
Indrajit
 
 


________________________________
From: Christopher W Ryan <[hidden email]>
To: R-help <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 8:16 AM
Subject: [R] introducing R to high school students

I participate peripherally on a listserve for middle- and high-school
science teachers. Sometimes questions about graphing or data analysis
come up. I never miss an opportunity to advocate for R. However, the
teachers are often skeptical that their students would be able to
issue commands or write a little code; they think it would be too
difficult. Perhaps this stems from the Microsoft- and
spreadsheet-centered, pointy-clicky culture prevalent in most US
public schools. Then again, I have little experience teaching this age
group, besides my own kids and my Science Olympiad team, so I respect
their concerns and expertise.

I don't know yet what software they generally use, but I suspect MS
Excel and SPSS.

Now I have to put my money where my mouth is. I've offered to visit a
high school and introduce R to some fairly advanced students
participating in a longitudinal 3-year science research class.

I anticipate keeping things very simple:
--objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(), head(), tail()
--how to get data into R
--dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
"rectangular" datasets
--a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force, acceleration)
is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
--simple descriptive statistics
--maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.

Alas, probably more than we would have time to cover.

Has anyone done anything with R in high schools?

Thanks.

--Chris Ryan
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Binghamton Clinical Campus

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]


______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Richard M. Heiberger
In reply to this post by Christopher W Ryan
Christopher,

I suggest that you look at R through Excel.  This is a Springer book that
Erich Neuwirth and I wrote.  It is designed as a computational supplement to any
introductory Statistics book.  It uses Erich's RExcel to give either
menu access to R
from Excel (using Rcmdr embedded into the Excel menu system), or by placing any
R function inside the Excel automatic recalculation model.

RExcel is available either in the RExcelInstaller package from CRAN,
or fully integrated into
a complete R system from rcom.univie.ac.at.  Go to the Downloads page
and download
the current RAndFriends installer.

We have discussions on using RExcel in the classroom in the Literature
and presentations
section on the Wiki page at the rcom site.
Several of the links are to papers at the UseR! conferences.  This one
specifically addresses
teaching:
http://www.r-project.org/useR-2006/Slides/BaierEtAl.pdf
Baier, T., Heiberger, R., Neuwirth, E., Schinagl, K., Grossmann, W.
(2007). Using R for teaching statistics to nonmajors: Comparing
experiences of two different approaches. Paper presented at the UseR
2006, Vienna.

Rich


On Apr 17, 2012, at 22:46, Christopher W Ryan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I participate peripherally on a listserve for middle- and high-school
> science teachers. Sometimes questions about graphing or data analysis
> come up. I never miss an opportunity to advocate for R. However, the
> teachers are often skeptical that their students would be able to
> issue commands or write a little code; they think it would be too
> difficult. Perhaps this stems from the Microsoft- and
> spreadsheet-centered, pointy-clicky culture prevalent in most US
> public schools. Then again, I have little experience teaching this age
> group, besides my own kids and my Science Olympiad team, so I respect
> their concerns and expertise.
>
> I don't know yet what software they generally use, but I suspect MS
> Excel and SPSS.
>
> Now I have to put my money where my mouth is. I've offered to visit a
> high school and introduce R to some fairly advanced students
> participating in a longitudinal 3-year science research class.
>
> I anticipate keeping things very simple:
> --objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(), head(), tail()
> --how to get data into R
> --dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
> "rectangular" datasets
> --a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force, acceleration)
> is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
> --simple descriptive statistics
> --maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.
>
> Alas, probably more than we would have time to cover.
>
> Has anyone done anything with R in high schools?
>
> Thanks.
>
> --Chris Ryan
> SUNY Upstate Medical University
> Binghamton Clinical Campus
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Gabor Grothendieck
In reply to this post by Christopher W Ryan
On Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 10:46 PM, Christopher W Ryan
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> I participate peripherally on a listserve for middle- and high-school
> science teachers. Sometimes questions about graphing or data analysis
> come up. I never miss an opportunity to advocate for R. However, the
> teachers are often skeptical that their students would be able to
> issue commands or write a little code; they think it would be too
> difficult. Perhaps this stems from the Microsoft- and
> spreadsheet-centered, pointy-clicky culture prevalent in most US
> public schools. Then again, I have little experience teaching this age
> group, besides my own kids and my Science Olympiad team, so I respect
> their concerns and expertise.
>
> I don't know yet what software they generally use, but I suspect MS
> Excel and SPSS.
>
> Now I have to put my money where my mouth is. I've offered to visit a
> high school and introduce R to some fairly advanced students
> participating in a longitudinal 3-year science research class.
>
> I anticipate keeping things very simple:
> --objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(), head(), tail()
> --how to get data into R
> --dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
> "rectangular" datasets
> --a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force, acceleration)
> is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
> --simple descriptive statistics
> --maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.
>

I have some experience in this and would have to agree with Indrajit
that this is not a good idea.

When I tried to teach R to a high school student it was not very
successful.  Certainly based on that experience the list above is way
too complex.  Don't teach anything on that list at all.  The number of
concepts involved in that is simply overwhelming.  Also avoid teaching
anything that requires complex installation if you want them to be
able to carry it forward by themselves.

I would expect the reaction would be that most will have no interest
and the ones that do will be frustrated by the large number of
concepts needed to get going.

The only part that seemed to trigger any interest was when I showed
the large list of colors available in colors() and then playing with
inserting different colors in:

colors()
plot(1:5, col = "violetred")

Assuming you are committed to this and go ahead, I would divide it
into two parts:

1. a graphics demo -- make it clear its a demonstration so they have
an appreciation of what is possible and you are not actually teaching
anything in this portion.

2. Teach them how to install R, run the above two commands
(substituting in different colors), how to exit and point out that
there are many tutorials in:
http://cran.r-project.org/other-docs.html
and they can pick one they like (since the official documents will be
over their head).

If you do that then perhaps a small number will have sufficient
interest to try it some more at home but I wouldn't be surprised if
none do and that most or all would prefer something with more
immediate gratification.

--
Statistics & Software Consulting
GKX Group, GKX Associates Inc.
tel: 1-877-GKX-GROUP
email: ggrothendieck at gmail.com

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Bert Gunter
<...snipped>

>> I anticipate keeping things very simple:
>> --objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(), head(), tail()
>> --how to get data into R
>> --dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
>> "rectangular" datasets
>> --a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force, acceleration)
>> is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
>> --simple descriptive statistics
>> --maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.
>>
>
> I have some experience in this and would have to agree with Indrajit
> that this is not a good idea.
>
> When I tried to teach R to a high school student it was not very
> successful.  Certainly based on that experience the list above is way
> too complex.  Don't teach anything on that list at all.  The number of
> concepts involved in that is simply overwhelming.

Oh amen amen!

I'd go farther: It's overwhelming for college students.

Farther yet: I've met very few scientists and engineers who understand
what a standard deviation is. Fewer still who understand the
difference between a sample statistic and a population parameter for
which it's an estimate.

This approach to "basic" statistics is (imho) symptomatic of why our
discipline is so widely disliked and misunderstood.

Cheers,
Bert

 Also avoid teaching

> anything that requires complex installation if you want them to be
> able to carry it forward by themselves.
>
> I would expect the reaction would be that most will have no interest
> and the ones that do will be frustrated by the large number of
> concepts needed to get going.
>
> The only part that seemed to trigger any interest was when I showed
> the large list of colors available in colors() and then playing with
> inserting different colors in:
>
> colors()
> plot(1:5, col = "violetred")
>
> Assuming you are committed to this and go ahead, I would divide it
> into two parts:
>
> 1. a graphics demo -- make it clear its a demonstration so they have
> an appreciation of what is possible and you are not actually teaching
> anything in this portion.
>
> 2. Teach them how to install R, run the above two commands
> (substituting in different colors), how to exit and point out that
> there are many tutorials in:
> http://cran.r-project.org/other-docs.html
> and they can pick one they like (since the official documents will be
> over their head).
>
> If you do that then perhaps a small number will have sufficient
> interest to try it some more at home but I wouldn't be surprised if
> none do and that most or all would prefer something with more
> immediate gratification.
>
> --
> Statistics & Software Consulting
> GKX Group, GKX Associates Inc.
> tel: 1-877-GKX-GROUP
> email: ggrothendieck at gmail.com
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.



--

Bert Gunter
Genentech Nonclinical Biostatistics

Internal Contact Info:
Phone: 467-7374
Website:
http://pharmadevelopment.roche.com/index/pdb/pdb-functional-groups/pdb-biostatistics/pdb-ncb-home.htm

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Christopher W Ryan
Thanks all for the excellent thought-provoking comments.

I want to clarify that these students are, for good or for ill, already
doing all these analytical and graphical things for their projects. They
are doing them with Excel and SPSS. One of my goals would be to teach
them how they can be done (and I think done better) in R. Better for
many reasons, not least of which is the reproducibility offered by lines
of saved code.

It seems that many (not all) on the list agree with the science teachers
that R is too difficult for high school students. Is R intrinsically
more difficult to learn than commercial spreadsheet software? If so,
why? Or is the issue that it is difficult to change to R after many
years experience in the mind-set of spreadsheets? If a child was
"brought up" on R for math/stats, in a developmentally progressive way,
instead of Excel or a graphing calculator, would he/she perceive it as
difficult?

Are the intrinsic cognitive differences between high schoolers, college
students, and graduate students substantial enough to explain why the
last can learn R and the first can't? Or is it a matter of exposure,
opportunity, etc?

Indrajit, I'm curious: given your preference for hand-drawn graphs for
learners (a very good point), why is Excel "fine" but R not?

At any rate, I should probably migrate this thread over to the Teaching
SIG listserve, which I didn't know about before.

Thanks again.

--Chris
Christopher W. Ryan, MD
SUNY Upstate Medical University Clinical Campus at Binghamton
425 Robinson Street, Binghamton, NY  13904
cryanatbinghamtondotedu

"Observation is a more powerful force than you could possibly reckon.
The invisible, the overlooked, and the unobserved are the most in danger
of reaching the end of the spectrum. They lose the last of their light.
>From there, anything can happen . . ."  [God, in "Joan of Arcadia,"
episode entitled, "The Uncertainty Principle."]

Bert Gunter wrote:

> <...snipped>
>
>>> I anticipate keeping things very simple:
>>> --objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(), head(), tail()
>>> --how to get data into R
>>> --dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
>>> "rectangular" datasets
>>> --a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force, acceleration)
>>> is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
>>> --simple descriptive statistics
>>> --maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.
>>>
>>
>> I have some experience in this and would have to agree with Indrajit
>> that this is not a good idea.
>>
>> When I tried to teach R to a high school student it was not very
>> successful.  Certainly based on that experience the list above is way
>> too complex.  Don't teach anything on that list at all.  The number of
>> concepts involved in that is simply overwhelming.
>
> Oh amen amen!
>
> I'd go farther: It's overwhelming for college students.
>
> Farther yet: I've met very few scientists and engineers who understand
> what a standard deviation is. Fewer still who understand the
> difference between a sample statistic and a population parameter for
> which it's an estimate.
>
> This approach to "basic" statistics is (imho) symptomatic of why our
> discipline is so widely disliked and misunderstood.
>
> Cheers,
> Bert
>
>  Also avoid teaching
>> anything that requires complex installation if you want them to be
>> able to carry it forward by themselves.
>>
>> I would expect the reaction would be that most will have no interest
>> and the ones that do will be frustrated by the large number of
>> concepts needed to get going.
>>
>> The only part that seemed to trigger any interest was when I showed
>> the large list of colors available in colors() and then playing with
>> inserting different colors in:
>>
>> colors()
>> plot(1:5, col = "violetred")
>>
>> Assuming you are committed to this and go ahead, I would divide it
>> into two parts:
>>
>> 1. a graphics demo -- make it clear its a demonstration so they have
>> an appreciation of what is possible and you are not actually teaching
>> anything in this portion.
>>
>> 2. Teach them how to install R, run the above two commands
>> (substituting in different colors), how to exit and point out that
>> there are many tutorials in:
>> http://cran.r-project.org/other-docs.html
>> and they can pick one they like (since the official documents will be
>> over their head).
>>
>> If you do that then perhaps a small number will have sufficient
>> interest to try it some more at home but I wouldn't be surprised if
>> none do and that most or all would prefer something with more
>> immediate gratification.
>>
>> --
>> Statistics & Software Consulting
>> GKX Group, GKX Associates Inc.
>> tel: 1-877-GKX-GROUP
>> email: ggrothendieck at gmail.com
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [hidden email] mailing list
>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>
>
>

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Steve_Friedman@nps.gov
Christopher,

I originally thought about  writing off list to avoid a plethora of babble.
However here goes.

I don't see any reason why good students can 't learn the fundamentals of
R.  It has lots of advance methods that perhaps are too complex to handle
for younger - less experienced people. On the other hand, if your students
are engaged and already doing graphs and other spreadsheet applications
than why not go ahead and experiment with some of the functionality R has
to offer.

The critics seem to forget that inner city kids in CA were exceptional in
their ability to learn advanced placement calculus when pushed to learn.
The US lags far behind the international community in math skills, so if R
can help them catch up, go ahead and give it a try.

I'd pick some elementary concepts first to allow them to become familiar
with the software.  A series of exercises in learning what a vector is,
then how vectors can  contain more than one attribute.  Show then how, to
add column, how to add rows, develop simple arithmetic problems, etc.  then
move to data.frames and perhaps, lists with mixed numeric and categorical
attributes. Demonstrate the apply functions, trellis (or lattice) and
scatter plots etc.

My two cents,

Steve Friedman Ph. D.
Ecologist  / Spatial Statistical Analyst
Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Park
950 N Krome Ave (3rd Floor)
Homestead, Florida 33034

[hidden email]
Office (305) 224 - 4282
Fax     (305) 224 - 4147


                                                                           
             "Christopher W.                                              
             Ryan"                                                        
             <cryan@binghamton                                          To
             .edu>                     R-help <[hidden email]>      
             Sent by:                                                   cc
             r-help-bounces@r-                                            
             project.org                                           Subject
                                       Re: [R] introducing R to high      
                                       school students                    
             04/18/2012 10:25                                              
             AM                                                            
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           




Thanks all for the excellent thought-provoking comments.

I want to clarify that these students are, for good or for ill, already
doing all these analytical and graphical things for their projects. They
are doing them with Excel and SPSS. One of my goals would be to teach
them how they can be done (and I think done better) in R. Better for
many reasons, not least of which is the reproducibility offered by lines
of saved code.

It seems that many (not all) on the list agree with the science teachers
that R is too difficult for high school students. Is R intrinsically
more difficult to learn than commercial spreadsheet software? If so,
why? Or is the issue that it is difficult to change to R after many
years experience in the mind-set of spreadsheets? If a child was
"brought up" on R for math/stats, in a developmentally progressive way,
instead of Excel or a graphing calculator, would he/she perceive it as
difficult?

Are the intrinsic cognitive differences between high schoolers, college
students, and graduate students substantial enough to explain why the
last can learn R and the first can't? Or is it a matter of exposure,
opportunity, etc?

Indrajit, I'm curious: given your preference for hand-drawn graphs for
learners (a very good point), why is Excel "fine" but R not?

At any rate, I should probably migrate this thread over to the Teaching
SIG listserve, which I didn't know about before.

Thanks again.

--Chris
Christopher W. Ryan, MD
SUNY Upstate Medical University Clinical Campus at Binghamton
425 Robinson Street, Binghamton, NY  13904
cryanatbinghamtondotedu

"Observation is a more powerful force than you could possibly reckon.
The invisible, the overlooked, and the unobserved are the most in danger
of reaching the end of the spectrum. They lose the last of their light.
>From there, anything can happen . . ."  [God, in "Joan of Arcadia,"
episode entitled, "The Uncertainty Principle."]

Bert Gunter wrote:
> <...snipped>
>
>>> I anticipate keeping things very simple:
>>> --objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(), head(),
tail()

>>> --how to get data into R
>>> --dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
>>> "rectangular" datasets
>>> --a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force, acceleration)
>>> is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
>>> --simple descriptive statistics
>>> --maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.
>>>
>>
>> I have some experience in this and would have to agree with Indrajit
>> that this is not a good idea.
>>
>> When I tried to teach R to a high school student it was not very
>> successful.  Certainly based on that experience the list above is way
>> too complex.  Don't teach anything on that list at all.  The number of
>> concepts involved in that is simply overwhelming.
>
> Oh amen amen!
>
> I'd go farther: It's overwhelming for college students.
>
> Farther yet: I've met very few scientists and engineers who understand
> what a standard deviation is. Fewer still who understand the
> difference between a sample statistic and a population parameter for
> which it's an estimate.
>
> This approach to "basic" statistics is (imho) symptomatic of why our
> discipline is so widely disliked and misunderstood.
>
> Cheers,
> Bert
>
>  Also avoid teaching
>> anything that requires complex installation if you want them to be
>> able to carry it forward by themselves.
>>
>> I would expect the reaction would be that most will have no interest
>> and the ones that do will be frustrated by the large number of
>> concepts needed to get going.
>>
>> The only part that seemed to trigger any interest was when I showed
>> the large list of colors available in colors() and then playing with
>> inserting different colors in:
>>
>> colors()
>> plot(1:5, col = "violetred")
>>
>> Assuming you are committed to this and go ahead, I would divide it
>> into two parts:
>>
>> 1. a graphics demo -- make it clear its a demonstration so they have
>> an appreciation of what is possible and you are not actually teaching
>> anything in this portion.
>>
>> 2. Teach them how to install R, run the above two commands
>> (substituting in different colors), how to exit and point out that
>> there are many tutorials in:
>> http://cran.r-project.org/other-docs.html
>> and they can pick one they like (since the official documents will be
>> over their head).
>>
>> If you do that then perhaps a small number will have sufficient
>> interest to try it some more at home but I wouldn't be surprised if
>> none do and that most or all would prefer something with more
>> immediate gratification.
>>
>> --
>> Statistics & Software Consulting
>> GKX Group, GKX Associates Inc.
>> tel: 1-877-GKX-GROUP
>> email: ggrothendieck at gmail.com
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [hidden email] mailing list
>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>> PLEASE do read the posting guide
http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>
>
>

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide
http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

trinker
In reply to this post by Indrajit Sen Gupta

Indrajit,
As a former math teacher I understand your concerns wholly.  My perspective is that this must be approached with caution so you don't miss out on the important learning but I think with proper guidance and scaffolding this could be an amazing tool.  We already using the graphing capabilities of the TI-(insert number here) to demonstrate graphing problems, why not put a sophisticated tool in their hands that may be very useful to them in the future and at least introduce them to programming.  Students are capable of some pretty cool and creative things if we give them the tools and support to allow them to be creative (I mean which one of use didn't program out ti-81s to play video games?).
Your point of the learning being hindered isn't lost.  This has to be approached delicately so R isn't just another program spitting out answers/graphs.  Chris's question sounds like a one time intro thing so this may be a moot pint, however if the R learning is more long term, I would suggest some sort of lab set up (maybe a "lab day") each week that augments and compliments the standard curriculum.  One thing I may advise against is the  "--maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression." as this is usually far beyond the scope of high school curriculum (at least to my knowledge). 
Could I also suggest you do some eye candy (not much but some) where you show a few of the things R is capable of to get their interests peaked (I consider this like playing guitar; I learned it because Hendrix played sweet stuff not because I liked playing basic chords and scales; I plugged through the elementary stuff because I knew Hendrix, Clapton, and Page were within my grasp if I kept going).  Here's a few suggestions:http://paulbutler.org/archives/visualizing-facebook-friends/
http://blog.revolutionanalytics.com/2012/01/nyt-uses-r-to-map-the-1.html
http://blog.revolutionanalytics.com/2009/11/choropleth-challenge-result.html
http://www.r-bloggers.com/visualize-your-facebook-friends-network-with-r/
http://www.r-bloggers.com/see-the-wind/
http://www.r-bloggers.com/mapped-british-and-spanish-shipping-1750-1800/

And also I'd introduce them to Anthony Damico's "r twotorials" as it provides catchy short tutorials on how to do basic stuff:http://www.twotorials.com/2012/04/

I wish I knew R when I was a math teacher and applaud any effort to engage students in authentic learning with powerful tools that they may use later on.  I would encourage physics teachers to incorporate R too.  
Tyler Rinker
From: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [R] introducing R to high school students


Hi Chris,

I am not sure, whether introducing R to High School students would be a good idea as I feel we should encourage students to sketch the graphs in paper to get their concepts right. Excel is fine, but - if I write an equation on the board, will the student be able to visualize its graph? Allowing students to use software to plot graphs at a very early age may hinder that learning. What I would focus on (as the teacher pointed out - that they may not be able to write code) - is being able to write simple codes to get a grasp on programming (they can use QBASIC which is one of the simplest programming softwares).

R to my mind should be introduced at an undergraduate level - where they are able to use its real power (vectors, matrices, graphics etc.).

Thats my view :)

Regards,
Indrajit




________________________________
From: Christopher W Ryan <[hidden email]>
To: R-help <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 8:16 AM
Subject: [R] introducing R to high school students

I participate peripherally on a listserve for middle- and high-school
science teachers. Sometimes questions about graphing or data analysis
come up. I never miss an opportunity to advocate for R. However, the
teachers are often skeptical that their students would be able to
issue commands or write a little code; they think it would be too
difficult. Perhaps this stems from the Microsoft- and
spreadsheet-centered, pointy-clicky culture prevalent in most US
public schools. Then again, I have little experience teaching this age
group, besides my own kids and my Science Olympiad team, so I respect
their concerns and expertise.

I don't know yet what software they generally use, but I suspect MS
Excel and SPSS.

Now I have to put my money where my mouth is. I've offered to visit a
high school and introduce R to some fairly advanced students
participating in a longitudinal 3-year science research class.

I anticipate keeping things very simple:
--objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(), head(), tail()
--how to get data into R
--dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
"rectangular" datasets
--a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force, acceleration)
is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
--simple descriptive statistics
--maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.

Alas, probably more than we would have time to cover.

Has anyone done anything with R in high schools?

Thanks.

--Chris Ryan
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Binghamton Clinical Campus

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]


______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
     
______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Jeff Newmiller
In reply to this post by Christopher W Ryan
I think that mostly avoiding the statistics and matrix capabilities is wise. You might want to (re-)read Burns' article on Spreadsheet Addiction for help in justifying the effort required to learn R.

In that vein, there is a classic experiment where a small ball is rolled down an inclined pane and the time required to roll various distances is measured. One way to investigate fitting this data is to square the time in the spreadsheet. (The other is to use the built-in polynomial regression.) If there is a missing value in the input time, the squared cell will be zero. You can overcome this by manually putting an =NA() in the missing cell, but that is tedious when there is lots of data, and it gets even more tedious when you want to throw out the whole data record while remembering which records were used in the final analysis. R allows this and similar steps to be automated.

I also think running some examples of plots like tiled layouts, colored maps, boxplots, or 3d interactive cloud graphs may provide good brainstorming material for data representation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jeff Newmiller                        The     .....       .....  Go Live...
DCN:<[hidden email]>        Basics: ##.#.       ##.#.  Live Go...
                                      Live:   OO#.. Dead: OO#..  Playing
Research Engineer (Solar/Batteries            O.O#.       #.O#.  with
/Software/Embedded Controllers)               .OO#.       .OO#.  rocks...1k
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sent from my phone. Please excuse my brevity.

"Christopher W. Ryan" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Thanks all for the excellent thought-provoking comments.
>
>I want to clarify that these students are, for good or for ill, already
>doing all these analytical and graphical things for their projects.
>They
>are doing them with Excel and SPSS. One of my goals would be to teach
>them how they can be done (and I think done better) in R. Better for
>many reasons, not least of which is the reproducibility offered by
>lines
>of saved code.
>
>It seems that many (not all) on the list agree with the science
>teachers
>that R is too difficult for high school students. Is R intrinsically
>more difficult to learn than commercial spreadsheet software? If so,
>why? Or is the issue that it is difficult to change to R after many
>years experience in the mind-set of spreadsheets? If a child was
>"brought up" on R for math/stats, in a developmentally progressive way,
>instead of Excel or a graphing calculator, would he/she perceive it as
>difficult?
>
>Are the intrinsic cognitive differences between high schoolers, college
>students, and graduate students substantial enough to explain why the
>last can learn R and the first can't? Or is it a matter of exposure,
>opportunity, etc?
>
>Indrajit, I'm curious: given your preference for hand-drawn graphs for
>learners (a very good point), why is Excel "fine" but R not?
>
>At any rate, I should probably migrate this thread over to the Teaching
>SIG listserve, which I didn't know about before.
>
>Thanks again.
>
>--Chris
>Christopher W. Ryan, MD
>SUNY Upstate Medical University Clinical Campus at Binghamton
>425 Robinson Street, Binghamton, NY  13904
>cryanatbinghamtondotedu
>
>"Observation is a more powerful force than you could possibly reckon.
>The invisible, the overlooked, and the unobserved are the most in
>danger
>of reaching the end of the spectrum. They lose the last of their light.
>>From there, anything can happen . . ."  [God, in "Joan of Arcadia,"
>episode entitled, "The Uncertainty Principle."]
>
>Bert Gunter wrote:
>> <...snipped>
>>
>>>> I anticipate keeping things very simple:
>>>> --objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(),
>head(), tail()
>>>> --how to get data into R
>>>> --dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
>>>> "rectangular" datasets
>>>> --a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force,
>acceleration)
>>>> is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
>>>> --simple descriptive statistics
>>>> --maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.
>>>>
>>>
>>> I have some experience in this and would have to agree with Indrajit
>>> that this is not a good idea.
>>>
>>> When I tried to teach R to a high school student it was not very
>>> successful.  Certainly based on that experience the list above is
>way
>>> too complex.  Don't teach anything on that list at all.  The number
>of
>>> concepts involved in that is simply overwhelming.
>>
>> Oh amen amen!
>>
>> I'd go farther: It's overwhelming for college students.
>>
>> Farther yet: I've met very few scientists and engineers who
>understand
>> what a standard deviation is. Fewer still who understand the
>> difference between a sample statistic and a population parameter for
>> which it's an estimate.
>>
>> This approach to "basic" statistics is (imho) symptomatic of why our
>> discipline is so widely disliked and misunderstood.
>>
>> Cheers,
>> Bert
>>
>>  Also avoid teaching
>>> anything that requires complex installation if you want them to be
>>> able to carry it forward by themselves.
>>>
>>> I would expect the reaction would be that most will have no interest
>>> and the ones that do will be frustrated by the large number of
>>> concepts needed to get going.
>>>
>>> The only part that seemed to trigger any interest was when I showed
>>> the large list of colors available in colors() and then playing with
>>> inserting different colors in:
>>>
>>> colors()
>>> plot(1:5, col = "violetred")
>>>
>>> Assuming you are committed to this and go ahead, I would divide it
>>> into two parts:
>>>
>>> 1. a graphics demo -- make it clear its a demonstration so they have
>>> an appreciation of what is possible and you are not actually
>teaching
>>> anything in this portion.
>>>
>>> 2. Teach them how to install R, run the above two commands
>>> (substituting in different colors), how to exit and point out that
>>> there are many tutorials in:
>>> http://cran.r-project.org/other-docs.html
>>> and they can pick one they like (since the official documents will
>be
>>> over their head).
>>>
>>> If you do that then perhaps a small number will have sufficient
>>> interest to try it some more at home but I wouldn't be surprised if
>>> none do and that most or all would prefer something with more
>>> immediate gratification.
>>>
>>> --
>>> Statistics & Software Consulting
>>> GKX Group, GKX Associates Inc.
>>> tel: 1-877-GKX-GROUP
>>> email: ggrothendieck at gmail.com
>>>
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> [hidden email] mailing list
>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>>> PLEASE do read the posting guide
>http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>>
>>
>>
>
>______________________________________________
>[hidden email] mailing list
>https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>PLEASE do read the posting guide
>http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

David Winsemius

On Apr 18, 2012, at 12:31 PM, Jeff Newmiller wrote:

> I think that mostly avoiding the statistics and matrix capabilities  
> is wise. You might want to (re-)read Burns' article on Spreadsheet  
> Addiction for help in justifying the effort required to learn R.
>
> In that vein, there is a classic experiment where a small ball is  
> rolled down an inclined pane and the time required to roll various  
> distances is measured.

I'll say it's classic. First done by Galileo: http://www.u-picardie.fr/~dellis/Documents/PhysicsEducation/Reconstruction%20of%20Galileo%20Galilei.pdf

> One way to investigate fitting this data is to square the time in  
> the spreadsheet.

Another way is to examine first and second differences in distances  
reached after successive equal intervals. The diff() function is  
rather handy in this effort.

Back to the matter at hand, ... I see no convincing reason to consider  
R any more complex as a computer language than is Logo. The suggestion  
to use color in graphics output seems to be in accord with what I have  
seen as far as pedagogic recommendations for using Logo as a teaching  
platform.

--
David Winsemius.

> (The other is to use the built-in polynomial regression.) If there  
> is a missing value in the input time, the squared cell will be zero.  
> You can overcome this by manually putting an =NA() in the missing  
> cell, but that is tedious when there is lots of data, and it gets  
> even more tedious when you want to throw out the whole data record  
> while remembering which records were used in the final analysis. R  
> allows this and similar steps to be automated.
>
> I also think running some examples of plots like tiled layouts,  
> colored maps, boxplots, or 3d interactive cloud graphs may provide  
> good brainstorming material for data representation.
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Jeff Newmiller                        The     .....       .....  Go  
> Live...
> DCN:<[hidden email]>        Basics: ##.#.       ##.#.  
> Live Go...
>                                      Live:   OO#.. Dead: OO#..  
> Playing
> Research Engineer (Solar/Batteries            O.O#.       #.O#.  with
> /Software/Embedded Controllers)               .OO#.       .OO#.  
> rocks...1k
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Sent from my phone. Please excuse my brevity.
>
> "Christopher W. Ryan" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Thanks all for the excellent thought-provoking comments.
>>
>> I want to clarify that these students are, for good or for ill,  
>> already
>> doing all these analytical and graphical things for their projects.
>> They
>> are doing them with Excel and SPSS. One of my goals would be to teach
>> them how they can be done (and I think done better) in R. Better for
>> many reasons, not least of which is the reproducibility offered by
>> lines
>> of saved code.
>>
>> It seems that many (not all) on the list agree with the science
>> teachers
>> that R is too difficult for high school students. Is R intrinsically
>> more difficult to learn than commercial spreadsheet software? If so,
>> why? Or is the issue that it is difficult to change to R after many
>> years experience in the mind-set of spreadsheets? If a child was
>> "brought up" on R for math/stats, in a developmentally progressive  
>> way,
>> instead of Excel or a graphing calculator, would he/she perceive it  
>> as
>> difficult?
>>
>> Are the intrinsic cognitive differences between high schoolers,  
>> college
>> students, and graduate students substantial enough to explain why the
>> last can learn R and the first can't? Or is it a matter of exposure,
>> opportunity, etc?
>>
>> Indrajit, I'm curious: given your preference for hand-drawn graphs  
>> for
>> learners (a very good point), why is Excel "fine" but R not?
>>
>> At any rate, I should probably migrate this thread over to the  
>> Teaching
>> SIG listserve, which I didn't know about before.
>>
>> Thanks again.
>>
>> --Chris
>> Christopher W. Ryan, MD
>> SUNY Upstate Medical University Clinical Campus at Binghamton
>> 425 Robinson Street, Binghamton, NY  13904
>> cryanatbinghamtondotedu
>>
>> "Observation is a more powerful force than you could possibly reckon.
>> The invisible, the overlooked, and the unobserved are the most in
>> danger
>> of reaching the end of the spectrum. They lose the last of their  
>> light.
>>> From there, anything can happen . . ."  [God, in "Joan of Arcadia,"
>> episode entitled, "The Uncertainty Principle."]
>>
>> Bert Gunter wrote:
>>> <...snipped>
>>>
>>>>> I anticipate keeping things very simple:
>>>>> --objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(),
>> head(), tail()
>>>>> --how to get data into R
>>>>> --dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
>>>>> "rectangular" datasets
>>>>> --a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force,
>> acceleration)
>>>>> is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
>>>>> --simple descriptive statistics
>>>>> --maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I have some experience in this and would have to agree with  
>>>> Indrajit
>>>> that this is not a good idea.
>>>>
>>>> When I tried to teach R to a high school student it was not very
>>>> successful.  Certainly based on that experience the list above is
>> way
>>>> too complex.  Don't teach anything on that list at all.  The number
>> of
>>>> concepts involved in that is simply overwhelming.
>>>
>>> Oh amen amen!
>>>
>>> I'd go farther: It's overwhelming for college students.
>>>
>>> Farther yet: I've met very few scientists and engineers who
>> understand
>>> what a standard deviation is. Fewer still who understand the
>>> difference between a sample statistic and a population parameter for
>>> which it's an estimate.
>>>
>>> This approach to "basic" statistics is (imho) symptomatic of why our
>>> discipline is so widely disliked and misunderstood.
>>>
>>> Cheers,
>>> Bert
>>>
>>> Also avoid teaching
>>>> anything that requires complex installation if you want them to be
>>>> able to carry it forward by themselves.
>>>>
>>>> I would expect the reaction would be that most will have no  
>>>> interest
>>>> and the ones that do will be frustrated by the large number of
>>>> concepts needed to get going.
>>>>
>>>> The only part that seemed to trigger any interest was when I showed
>>>> the large list of colors available in colors() and then playing  
>>>> with
>>>> inserting different colors in:
>>>>
>>>> colors()
>>>> plot(1:5, col = "violetred")
>>>>
>>>> Assuming you are committed to this and go ahead, I would divide it
>>>> into two parts:
>>>>
>>>> 1. a graphics demo -- make it clear its a demonstration so they  
>>>> have
>>>> an appreciation of what is possible and you are not actually
>> teaching
>>>> anything in this portion.
>>>>
>>>> 2. Teach them how to install R, run the above two commands
>>>> (substituting in different colors), how to exit and point out that
>>>> there are many tutorials in:
>>>> http://cran.r-project.org/other-docs.html
>>>> and they can pick one they like (since the official documents will
>> be
>>>> over their head).
>>>>
>>>> If you do that then perhaps a small number will have sufficient
>>>> interest to try it some more at home but I wouldn't be surprised if
>>>> none do and that most or all would prefer something with more
>>>> immediate gratification.
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Statistics & Software Consulting
>>>> GKX Group, GKX Associates Inc.
>>>> tel: 1-877-GKX-GROUP
>>>> email: ggrothendieck at gmail.com
>


David Winsemius, MD
West Hartford, CT

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Hadley Wickham-2
In reply to this post by Christopher W Ryan
> Now I have to put my money where my mouth is. I've offered to visit a
> high school and introduce R to some fairly advanced students
> participating in a longitudinal 3-year science research class.
>
> I anticipate keeping things very simple:
> --objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(), head(), tail()
> --how to get data into R
> --dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
> "rectangular" datasets
> --a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force, acceleration)
> is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
> --simple descriptive statistics
> --maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.

I think those are good topics to cover, but the order is wrong - start
with graphics.  They are immediately useful and you can start with
built in datasets (although I'd recommend finding a package with more
interesting/bigger datasets than the base packages).  Once you've
shown them how to use graphics to understand data you can talk more
about how it works - what is a dataframe, how you load data in R, etc.

That's the path I follow when I teach R (http://stat405.had.co.nz/,
http://vita.had.co.nz/papers/assessment.html), and I find it to be
successful at keeping students motivated enough to work through the
initial frustrations of learning a new language.  R is not too
difficult for high-school students to learn, but you need to make sure
you provide them with tools to do things that they're interested in -
finding interesting problems that they _want_ to solve is most of the
battle.

Hadley

--
Assistant Professor / Dobelman Family Junior Chair
Department of Statistics / Rice University
http://had.co.nz/

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

William Dunlap

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf
> Of Hadley Wickham
> Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 10:37 AM
> To: Christopher W Ryan
> Cc: R-help
> Subject: Re: [R] introducing R to high school students
>
> > Now I have to put my money where my mouth is. I've offered to visit a
> > high school and introduce R to some fairly advanced students
> > participating in a longitudinal 3-year science research class.
> >
> > I anticipate keeping things very simple:
> > --objects and the fact that there is stuff inside them. str(), head(), tail()
> > --how to get data into R
> > --dataframes, as I imagine they will mostly be using single,
> > "rectangular" datasets
> > --a lot of graphics (I can't imagine that  plot(force, acceleration)
> > is beyond a high-schooler's capability.)
> > --simple descriptive statistics
> > --maybe t-tests, chi-square tests, and simple linear regression.
>
> I think those are good topics to cover, but the order is wrong - start
> with graphics.  They are immediately useful and you can start with
> built in datasets (although I'd recommend finding a package with more
> interesting/bigger datasets than the base packages).  Once you've
> shown them how to use graphics to understand data you can talk more
> about how it works - what is a dataframe, how you load data in R, etc.
>
> That's the path I follow when I teach R (http://stat405.had.co.nz/,
> http://vita.had.co.nz/papers/assessment.html), and I find it to be
> successful at keeping students motivated enough to work through the
> initial frustrations of learning a new language.  R is not too
> difficult for high-school students to learn, but you need to make sure
> you provide them with tools to do things that they're interested in -
> finding interesting problems that they _want_ to solve is most of the
> battle.

If the students are in a "science research" class, does that mean they
have data from their own research that they would want to understand
better?  I think that would be much more motivating than anything else.

  "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood,
   divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the
   vast and endless sea."  [Antoine de St. Exupery]

Bill Dunlap
Spotfire, TIBCO Software
wdunlap tibco.com

>
> Hadley
>
> --
> Assistant Professor / Dobelman Family Junior Chair
> Department of Statistics / Rice University
> http://had.co.nz/
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Hadley Wickham-2
> If the students are in a "science research" class, does that mean they
> have data from their own research that they would want to understand
> better?  I think that would be much more motivating than anything else.

It might depends on the class - most high school science experiments
aren't that compelling.  Depending on the audience you might find
publicly available datasets to be more interesting - there's plenty of
stuff on sports, console games, ... that they might find more
interesting.

>  "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood,
>   divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the
>   vast and endless sea."  [Antoine de St. Exupery]

Exactly - I love that quote.

Hadley

--
Assistant Professor / Dobelman Family Junior Chair
Department of Statistics / Rice University
http://had.co.nz/

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Kjetil Halvorsen
see below.

On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 2:39 PM, Hadley Wickham <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> If the students are in a "science research" class, does that mean they
>> have data from their own research that they would want to understand
>> better?  I think that would be much more motivating than anything else.
>
> It might depends on the class - most high school science experiments
> aren't that compelling.

Yes. But then , one should try to give them ideas for better experiments!

One thing I would want to do is learn them the basics (very____ basics!) of
factorial experiments, and then let them use it for bettering the
design of, foe example,
paper planes. (or they could make soap in the chem lab and use
factorial experiments to better the process)

Kjetil

 Depending on the audience you might find

> publicly available datasets to be more interesting - there's plenty of
> stuff on sports, console games, ... that they might find more
> interesting.
>
>>  "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood,
>>   divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the
>>   vast and endless sea."  [Antoine de St. Exupery]
>
> Exactly - I love that quote.
>
> Hadley
>
> --
> Assistant Professor / Dobelman Family Junior Chair
> Department of Statistics / Rice University
> http://had.co.nz/
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Indrajit Sen Gupta
In reply to this post by Christopher W Ryan
Chris,
 
Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against learning R at an early age. However, I feel at a school level, the focus should be a bit more on programming. Here are some reasons why would not recommend R at school level:
 
1. At school we seldom deal with lot of data - the focus is more on concepts. Excel is an excellent tool and no matter how much we love or hate it - we will be using Excel a lot in our lives.
 
2. R language is a very high level language. To get a good grasp on programming - I would recommend any one of QBASIC, C or JAVA (Java might be a bit too much given OOP is not easy). Learn stuff the hard way - that way your fundamentals get strong. Even Excel VBA is a very powerful language - if you can incorporate that in your course - nothing like it. You will be churning out data scientists from your school.
 
3. The danger of introducing R too early - similar to introducing calculators to kids who are learning basic mental maths. They get too dependent on tools
 
Hope this clears my point of view.
 
Regards,
Indrajit
 


________________________________
From: Christopher W. Ryan <[hidden email]>
To: R-help <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 7:55 PM
Subject: Re: [R] introducing R to high school students


Indrajit, I'm curious: given your preference for hand-drawn graphs for
learners (a very good point), why is Excel "fine" but R not?
        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]


______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Rolf Turner-3
On 22/04/12 15:29, Indrajit Sengupta wrote:

<SNIP>
> 1. At school we seldom deal with lot of data - the focus is more on concepts. Excel is an excellent tool
     That is at best debatable, and IMHO just plain incorrect.  I firmly
believe
     that Excel is a ***TERRIBLE*** tool.
> and no matter how much we love or hate it - we will be using Excel a lot in our lives.

     This is not (unfortunately IMHO) debatable.  It is all too sadly
true.  For most
     people at least.  (Not for my very good self.  I can get away with
eschewing
     Excel.  Most people are not lucky enough to have that option.)

<SNIP>

     I think much of the remainder of the post was highly disputable as
well,
     but I will desist at this point.

         cheers,

             Rolf Turner

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Indrajit Sen Gupta
Why do you think Excel is a terrible tool? In what ways have you tried to use Excel and it has failed you?
 
Regards,
Indrajit


________________________________
From: Rolf Turner <[hidden email]>

Cc: R-help <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 9:25 AM
Subject: Re: [R] introducing R to high school students

On 22/04/12 15:29, Indrajit Sengupta wrote:

<SNIP>
> 1. At school we seldom deal with lot of data - the focus is more on concepts. Excel is an excellent tool
    That is at best debatable, and IMHO just plain incorrect.  I firmly believe
    that Excel is a ***TERRIBLE*** tool.
> and no matter how much we love or hate it - we will be using Excel a lot in our lives.

    This is not (unfortunately IMHO) debatable.  It is all too sadly true.  For most
    people at least.  (Not for my very good self.  I can get away with eschewing
    Excel.  Most people are not lucky enough to have that option.)

<SNIP>

    I think much of the remainder of the post was highly disputable as well,
    but I will desist at this point.

        cheers,

            Rolf Turner
        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]


______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Indrajit Sen Gupta
Bert,
 
What you are saying - is a problem with people who are using Excel. It is not Excel's problem that people are sending data in an unstructured way. I agree - Excel may not be the right tool when you are doing some complicated data analysis (like for e.g. statistical modeling) - but that is not what Excel was built for. The power of Excel lies in being able to use it to explore data, represent and present your analysis. When exploring data, yes it may not be very useful beyond univariates and bivariates - but that is your starting point in EDA where you need to generate hypotheses about your data.
 
I have been in the field of analytics for almost 7 years now, though we have embraced technologies like SAS, R, SPSS, Spotfire, etc., the power and importance of Excel in our lives has never been lost to us. Its a question of whether are you capable enough to use it.
 
Regards,
Indrajit
 


________________________________
From: Bert Gunter <[hidden email]>

Cc: Rolf Turner <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 11:07 AM
Subject: Re: [R] introducing R to high school students

I would like to slightly clarify and echo  Rolf's comment:

Excel is a terrible tool for data analysis. Maybe it's a good tool for
keeping track of your car's repair history... but not for data
analysis.

I could go on at great length why, but let me just focus on one aspect
that drives me and other statisticians in my group crazy when we deal
with scientists who send us data in Excel: the data are frequently a
mess!  By this I mean that they are often stored in crazy ways, with
plots and summaries sprinkled around, capital letters and small
letters mixed, missing values coded arbitrarily e.g.(99999 ), and so
forth. As someone I know once commented, it's a puzzle to get the data
extracted in a form susceptible to analysis.

Why is this? -- because Excel enforces no structure. It's
**cell-based** (duhhhh), so users can throw in the data anyway they
see fit, which frequently is pretty unfit.

This is not just a minor issue, imho. Not having data in a reasonable
structure limits what one can do for data analysis and graphics. This
promulgates the inadequate and frequently awful paradigms that one
sees throughout science (e.g. bar charts with 1 se bars sticking up
out of them).

The widespread use of Excel for "serious' scientific and engineering
data analysis is a near  tragedy. All IMHO, of course.

Cheers,
Bert

On Sat, Apr 21, 2012 at 9:45 PM, Indrajit Sengupta

> Why do you think Excel is a terrible tool? In what ways have you tried to use Excel and it has failed you?
>
> Regards,
> Indrajit
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Rolf Turner <[hidden email]>
>
> Cc: R-help <[hidden email]>
> Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 9:25 AM
> Subject: Re: [R] introducing R to high school students
>
> On 22/04/12 15:29, Indrajit Sengupta wrote:
>
> <SNIP>
>> 1. At school we seldom deal with lot of data - the focus is more on concepts. Excel is an excellent tool
>     That is at best debatable, and IMHO just plain incorrect.  I firmly believe
>     that Excel is a ***TERRIBLE*** tool.
>> and no matter how much we love or hate it - we will be using Excel a lot in our lives.
>
>     This is not (unfortunately IMHO) debatable.  It is all too sadly true.  For most
>     people at least.  (Not for my very good self.  I can get away with eschewing
>     Excel.  Most people are not lucky enough to have that option.)
>
> <SNIP>
>
>     I think much of the remainder of the post was highly disputable as well,
>     but I will desist at this point.
>
>         cheers,
>
>             Rolf Turner
>        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]
>
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>


--

Bert Gunter
Genentech Nonclinical Biostatistics

Internal Contact Info:
Phone: 467-7374
Website:
http://pharmadevelopment.roche.com/index/pdb/pdb-functional-groups/pdb-biostatistics/pdb-ncb-home.htm
        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]


______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: introducing R to high school students

Christopher W Ryan
I have to agree that Excel is a poor tool for "serious scientific and
engineering data analysis" (love the phrase.) I too have spent way too
much time beating Excel files into submission, with workarounds and
manipulations, just to be able to do anything useful with them. I'm told
that one can to some degree impose structure on Excel data entry, but I
don't know how, and no users ever seem to set up their spreadsheets that
way.

Somehow, a reasonable tool for business (I suppose, not being a
businessman), has infiltrated the scientific world as well.

That's really the motivation for my proposal to my science teacher
colleague. I want to introduce budding scientists to the idea that there
is a better tool for data analysis, even for exploratory analysis and
univariates and bivariates, which R does very handily. Why start an
analysis in Excel only to have to switch to something else for the
latter half?

And this will lead inevitably into conversations about better ways to
record, store, and share data. And it ties into concepts of
collaboration and reproducible research.

--Chris Ryan
SUNY Upstate Clinical Campus
Binghamton, NY

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Loading...