Saturday, February 02, 2008

On the Fly Lesson

I planned to teach vectors on Friday, and I must have been super sleepy as I prepared earlier, because when all was said and done, it took less than an hour to cover what I needed to, and then I had 30 minutes left to fill with no plans.

Box and Whisker Plots to the rescue. We'd just discussed (as a department) how these will be on our state exit exam for the students and how they hadn't seen it since 8th grade. I cobbled together a lesson to show them what's what and how do do things on the graphing calculator. In my first class, we gathered number of hours slept last night, and worked with that data. I didn't like it so much since the numbers only ranged from 4 to 10. I polled my next class about what they wanted to count that had a wide range, and after some mis-starts, they came up with number of hours of T.V. watched in a week. Sheesh, that was illuminating. The numbers spanned from 3 to 30. I had to keep reminding them and myself to make no judgmental noises or facial expressions when someone called out their number.

As I still had time left, I asked them to figure out how to change the data without adding more data so that the box was wider. That got their minds working.


  1. another interesting stat, for me, last year, was the number of contacts in their cell phone! that also had a wide range...and the ones on the high end were mind-boggling!

  2. Anonymous1:32 AM

    Longer??? or wider?

    Longer'd be a problem, since where will they find the extra hours beyond 30? Wider, they could just stop watching so much.


  3. Anonymous2:55 PM

    Shahana -

    Ooh, cell phone stats. I know they'd love that. I'll make a note of it for the next 2 classes I teach on Tuesday.

    Jonathan -

    I know, 30 hours a week, right? Inversely proportional to grades I'm sure. I'm thinking of the box being longer, not the whole min to max range. One way they did it was change some of the top 25% numbers to be between the median and Q3 numbers.

    Ms. Cookie

  4. The cell phone idea is fantastic. I'm making a list of things like that, data I can collect from them. I teach stats, and we have to build a lot of histograms, box plots, etc. The data in the books seems so dry to them. I'm planning to make a questionnaire for them to fill out on the first day of school. Then I'll use those data sets all year.