SOCR EduMaterials Activities Poisson Distribution

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This is an activity to explore the Poisson Probability Distribution.


  • Exercise 1: Use SOCR to graph and print the distribution of a Poisson random variable with λ = 2. What is the shape of this distribution?
  • Exercise 2: Use SOCR to graph and print the distribution of a Poisson random variable with λ = 15. What is the shape of this distribution? What happens when you keep increasing λ?
  • Exercise 3: Let  X \sim Poisson(5) . Find  P(3 \le X < 10) , and  P(X >10 | X \ge 4) .
  • Exercise 4: Poisson approximation to binomial: Graph and print  X \sim b(60, 0.02) . Approximate this probability distribution using Poisson. Choose three values of X and compute the probability for each one using Poisson and then using binomial. How good is the approximation?


Below you can see the distribution of a Poisson random variable with λ = 5. In this graph you can also see the probability that between 2 and 5 events will occur.







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