Introductory statistics in R - what packages are most valuable?

There was an excellent blog post by Citizen-Statistician about teaching undergraduate statistics, and which R packages are among the top 10 or so most useful.  Balancing the steep learning curve and overwhelming complexity of R with the  desire to impress upon students the power and utility of a dedicated statistical language (and why they may want to continue learning it) can be really challenging. 

For those that teach statistics in the context of R, how do you strike this balance? Do you try to start with the simplest possible commands (e.g.,  plot(x,y) ) and accept their limitations for the sake of clarity, or do you dive in with faceted plots in ggplot or hefty data manipulation in dplyr knowing that students won't catch all the meaning and syntax of the commands at first  but that they can at least see why R is useful to learn? 


  1. Introductory
  2. R programming language
  3. statistical analysis
  4. statistics

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