Places Everyone. Analyzing and Creating Stem and Leaf Plots.

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The students will be able to display and analyze data in a stem and leaf plot

Big Idea

The students will be using discovery techniques to learn about stem and leaf plots.


10 minutes

The Do NOW problem is a stem and leaf plot showing the ages of the presidents during their inauguration.  I chose this graph because students know what an age is suppose to look like and I want them to make the connection to the numbers in the chart.  I find that if I tell them that the Stem is the 10’s and the leaves are the ones, it doesn’t stick.  If they “see” the numbers and make sense of it through discover, it will deepen their understanding (MP1).  So I’m going to let the students write down as many observations as they can find.  I would like the students to look for mathematical observations such as:

Needs a title

It has numerical data values


Numbers are separated by 10’s and 1’s

I’m hoping the stronger thinkers may see the median, range and mode.

(SMP 6)

Analyzing Stem and Leaf Plots

60 minutes

If the ground work has been laid correctly from the DO NOW, the analyzing part of this lesson should go smoothly.  The students will be looking at several stem and leaf plots and answering questions about what they’ve observed.  If students are having a difficult time seeing the numerical values, guide them back to the president’s age and help them make the connection with the place values.   Use the power point to facilitate discussion about analyzing the graphs.  After analyzing the graphs, it’s now time for the students to create one.  I’m going to do this through discovery method too.  I want the students to think about the graphs they have seen and what observations they’ve noticed and make a list of elements in a stem and leaf plot.  (the criteria is on slide 6).  After they have discussed and wrote down their observations, go over how to make the graph with them.  By this point, my expectation is that I will be the scribe and they will be telling me how to set it up.  Once the plot is complete, have the students complete one on their own.  As students finish up, have them share their plot.  It is good to remind students that the pacing between the numbers in the leaves is important.  Equally spaced numbers makes the information easier to read and that is what displaying data is all about. Follow up the creating of the graphs with the following questions. (MP6) Think-pair-share

1.        How many temperatures were recorded? How do you know?

2.       What was the  highest temperature? How do you know?

3.       What was the lowest temperature? How do you know?

4.       Is there a typical temperature for Austin Tx?  How do you know?

(SMP 1 and 2)

Once you’ve completed the notes, I’ve attached a smart board activity to use as a formal assessment. This activity can be used in a couple of ways.  Start by reviewing creating stem and leaf plots.  The students can come up to the board and manipulate the plot to create one on the smart board.  Then, students will be asked to analyze the data collected.  I would use whiteboards because it’s a great way to assess understanding in a large group.  You can students raise their white boards to show you their responses or you can choose one person from the group to show responses.  You can also choose a person from the group to reveal the answer from the smart board.

Closure + Homework

10 minutes

 The objective for the day was to learn how to create and analyze stem and leaf plots

1.        When would you want to use a stem and leaf plot? (numerical data with larger numbers)

2.       What information can you find in a stem and leaf plot? (range, high/low, median, mean, mode, how many were surveyed)

3.       What do the stems represent (10’s place value)

4.       What do the leaves represent (1’s place value)

5.       What is the best part of this display? (easy to read, numbers ordered from least to greatest, easy to create)

This information can be used as whole class discussion or it can be turned in for evidence of student learning.

 Homework:  Students and Basketball players worksheet (Data and Analysis, NCTM)