In this series, I’m compiling some of the quips and one-liners that I’ll use with my students to hopefully make my lessons more memorable for them.
Every once in a while, I’ll show my students that there’s a difficult way to do a problem that I don’t want them to do for homework. For example, here’s the direct derivation of the mean of the binomial distribution using only Precalculus; this would make an excellent homework problem for the Precalculus teacher who wants to torture his/her students:
However, that’s a lot of work, and the way that I really want my students to do this, which is a lot easier (and which will be used throughout the semester), is by writing the binomial random variable as the sum of indicator random variables:
So, to reassure my students that they’re going to be asked to reproduce the above lengthy calculation, I’ll tell them that I wrote all that down for my own machismo, just to prove to them that I really could do it.
Since my physical presence exudes next to no machismo, this almost always gets a laugh.
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