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Example: Constructing a Normal Curve

The time it takes to complete a particular task (x) is normally distributed with a mean of
45 minutes with a standard deviation of 3 minutes.
Construct a graphicl model of the distribution of time.
x
35.00
35.25
35.50
35.75
36.00
36.25
36.50
36.75
37.00
37.25
37.50
37.75
38.00
38.25
38.50
38.75
39.00
39.25
39.50
39.75
40.00
40.25
40.50
40.75
41.00
41.25
41.50
41.75
42.00
42.25
42.50
42.75
43.00
43.25
43.50
43.75
44.00
44.25
44.50
44.75
45.00
45.25
45.50
45.75
46.00

f(x)
0.0000
0.0000
0.0000
0.0000
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001
0.0002
0.0003
0.0005
0.0007
0.0010
0.0014
0.0020
0.0027
0.0037
0.0051
0.0068
0.0089
0.0117
0.0150
0.0191
0.0240
0.0298
0.0365
0.0442
0.0529
0.0625
0.0729
0.0840
0.0956
0.1075
0.1194
0.1310
0.1420
0.1520
0.1606
0.1677
0.1730
0.1762
0.1773
0.1762
0.1730
0.1677
0.1606

Goodson/TMTH 3360

The Table
To draw a picture of the curve, we need to construct a table with
values of x and corresponding values for f(x).
1.
A distribution with a mean of 45 and standard deviation of 3
will take on values between 35 and 55 minutes so we set
up column A with values that range from 35 to 55. I have
chosen to use increments of 0.25; other values will work
as well. (Click on the cell to see how the list can be generated
using a formula and 'Paste Down.'
2.

To find the corresponding values of y, you could solve a very


complicated equation, but Excel has a function that will find
the required value. Use the 'Paste Function' buttion on the menu
bar and find the function named:
NORMDIST
In this box- for the first entry in A8 - insert the following
x
Highlight A8
Mean
45
Standard Deviation
3
Note if the function is cumulative
0 [because we do
not want a cumulative
value}

Paste Down so that each x has a corresponding value for f(x).

The Graph
Before clicking on the Chart Wizzard,
Highlight the column of values in column B beginning with B8.
Step 1
Chart Type
Area - first diagram
Step 2

Chart Source Data


Series Tab

Verify the data range is B8:B88


x Axis Label: Select A8:A88

Step 3

Chart Options

Specify titles;
Deselect legend under Legend Tab.

Step 4

Format

One way is to get the appropriate


format menu is to right click on the
area that you wish to format.
Some areas of concern that you should address are:
Font and decimal places on the axis
Size of the title and axis labels
Background color
Gridlines

3360n

0.1520
0.1420
0.1310
0.1194
0.1075
0.0956
0.0840
0.0729
0.0625
0.0529
0.0442
0.0365
0.0298
0.0240
0.0191
0.0150
0.0117
0.0089
0.0068
0.0051
0.0037
0.0027
0.0020
0.0014
0.0010
0.0007
0.0005
0.0003
0.0002
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001
0.0000
0.0000
0.0000
0.0000

Goodson/TMTH 3360

Normal Distribution
m = 45, s=3
0.2000
0.1800
0.1600
0.1400
f(x)

46.25
46.50
46.75
47.00
47.25
47.50
47.75
48.00
48.25
48.50
48.75
49.00
49.25
49.50
49.75
50.00
50.25
50.50
50.75
51.00
51.25
51.50
51.75
52.00
52.25
52.50
52.75
53.00
53.25
53.50
53.75
54.00
54.25
54.50
54.75
55.00

0.1200
0.1000
0.0800
0.0600
0.0400
0.0200
0.0000

3360n

The Normal Distribution: A Family of Curves


Problem 1
Use the chart wizard to draw three normal curves on one graph.
The process will be the same as was demonstrated on the sheet,
Example: Constructing a Normal Curve [ www.uh.edu/~tech132/3360n.xls ]
except I found it is best to use 'Area with a 3D visual effect.'
It is the forth box on the Chart Wizard.
Note: Before clicking on the Chart Wizard, select all 3 columns of values for f(x).
The curves should be the following:
1.
A normal curve with mean of 30 and a standard deviation of 2
2.
A normal curve with mean of 30 and a standard deviation of 1
3.
A normal curve with mean of 35 and a standard deviation of 1
What is the effect of changing the mean? How do curves 2 and 3 differ?
What is the effect of changing the standard deviation? How do curves 2 and 1 differ?

Problem 2
The amount of instant coffee that is put into a 6 oz jar has a normal distribution with a
standard deviation of 0.03. oz.
Complete the table for additional values of x.
What proportion of the jar contain:
a)
b)
c)

less than 6.06 oz?


less than 6 oz?
more than 6.09 oz?

x
5.90
5.91
5.92
5.93
5.94
5.95
5.96
5.97
5.98
5.99
6.00
6.01

f(x)
0.0514
0.1477

P(X<x)
0.000
0.001