Education Technology

Introduction to the Central Limit Theorem

Published on 08/04/2005

Activity Overview

Students have trouble understanding the Central Limit Theorem (CLT).
This activity is designed to show them what the theorem is saying.
The students develop repeated lists of numbers from 1 to 10 and finding the mean of each list.
We then collect all of their means and use them to find the mean of this list of means.
This is a quick way to find the mean of a large number of numbers while at the same time including the students in the process and increasing their understanding of the CLT.

Before the Activity

Have students read Central Limit Theorem (CLT) the night before the lesson and write a brief paragraph about what it means.

Please see the attached file for more details on this activity.

During the Activity

Start class with a discussion of CLT and their ideas on what it means.
Ask them to offer examples of how they would test it.
Please see the attached file for more details

After the Activity

Finish with a discussion of what you did as a class.
Remind them of how many random numbers we selected, how they found the mean by using this process and how close the mean came to the theoretical mean.