Lessons Learned on Data Analysis Plots

22 Sep

This week I explained line plots, stem & leaf plots, and box and whisker plots.

The good:

— Used the “lowest unique number” game as the data for creating a line plot, stem & leaf plot, and box & whisker plot. The kids love this game. They write on a piece of paper a number from 1 to <class-size>  that they think will be the lowest number that no one else will pick. Here’s the worksheet we used to create all the plots:  Lowest Unique Number Worksheet

— After the kids asked who uses these plots, and I was sort of wondering the same thing since I never really came across stem & leaf plots or box & whisker plots while I was in industry, I started searching. I found this cool stem & leaf plot (thanks wikipedia) of  a Japanese train schedule. I got a lot of miileage out of showing this image along with some scientific uses of box & whisker plots (google-images).

The not so good:

— Students are very quick to say “I don’t get it” ALOUD, when they haven’t even been exposed to a complete idea yet. I need to prepare them better for the discomfort of not understanding something while they are still gathering information about it.  One idea is to show them just pieces of a picture, and ask them if they know what the whole image looks like yet. No. However, are they confident that once all the obstructions are taken away that they will see and understand the entire image? Yes. This is similar to the process of learning most things that are interesting to learn.

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