Box and Whiskers Activity

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The students will be able to construct and interpret box and whisker plots through a variety of learning modalities.

Big Idea

The students will be working in stations to construct and analyze box plots. All activities are of high interest and rich in content.

Do Now

10 minutes

This worksheet reviews finding the 3 measures of central tendency using information from data collected about movie theatre experiences.  I choose this worksheet because students will be working with these measures throughout their station rotations.  Allow students to use calculators to assist with their calculations.  I’m not anticipating any issues at this time.

Stations Activity

60 minutes

The students will be rotating through 3 stations:  computer, teacher, and independent.  The rotations will last approximately 20 minutes and each station is designed to support the learning objective for the day.  See strategy folder for station management.

Station 1:  Teacher (human box plot, let’s act it out)

The students will be creating a human box plot using their heights in cm.  Have the students measure their heights and write it down on an index card.  Next, have students stand up and order themselves from shortest to tallest (shoulder to shoulder) across the front of the room.  Begin by asking students to find the median of their data set.  If it is an odd number of students, it will be the student in the middle.  If it is an even number of students, ask the students how to find the median.  Give a colored post it note to the person(s) who represent the median.  After doing this, ask the students what happened to the data.  I’m looking for the students to say that we split the group in half, the short half and the tall half.  Now say, we need to find the quartiles.  Students should be able to tell you that the quartiles are the middle of the lower and  middle of the upper half.  If they can’t remember what a quartile is, you could ask them “what does it sound like” A quarter and a quarter is 25 cents or ¼.  What is the relationship between ¼ and ½?  Give the upper quartile and the lower quartile a different color sticky note. Place pieces of construction paper on the floor where no data is represented.  Now explain to the students that we need 2 more pieces to our box plot:  minimum  and maximum values.  Once the 5 summary points are established, the remainder of the students can sit down.  Since the box is the LQ , Median, and UQ, hand those students some butcher paper to represent the box.  The whiskers are represented by the minimum and maximum values.  Use string to show the whiskers.   Once the box plot is complete, take a picture to show the students still standing how their human box plot looks.  

Resource:  sticky notes, butcher paper, construction paper, string, index cards and measuring tape

Station 2:  Independent – comparing the ages of actors and actresses that were Oscar-winners

Students will be working with data that compares the ages of Oscar-Winners for both actors and actresses.  They will be required to find the 3 measures of central tendency, use the central tendency and variations to compare the data sets, create the box plot and use the box plot and the measures of central tendency to determine the typical age of an Oscar-winning actor and actress.

 Resource: Oscar-Winners worksheet

Station 3:  using technology to create a box plot

Have students use the data from the worksheet called It’s show time  to use to create a box plot on the calculator.  Give each student the directions worksheet to use to help them work through using the graphing calculator.  Have students make a statement about the comparison of the two box plots.  Use the measures of central tendency to support your generalizations.


15 minutes

To bring this lesson to a close, I’m going to have students write a reflection on the most valuable point when creating and analyzing box plots.  Students should be thinking about the most important elements of their learning.  They can use their notes to support their reflections.  The students will write for 5 minutes explaining in words and pictures why they feel their selections are the most important.  Students should then share their thoughts with a tablemate or a partner. (SMP1,3,6)