Box-and-Whisker Plots

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1 Mathematics Box-and-Whisker Plots About this Lesson This is a foundational lesson for box-and-whisker plots (boxplots), a graphical tool used throughout statistics for displaying data. During the lesson, students learn to construct this graphical display and interpret its meaning in the context of the situation. In addition to working with the five-number summary, students use the interquartile range, IQR, to determine whether data points are outliers. Modified boxplots, boxplots that represent outliers with small squares or points, are used in the activity since this is the preferred method in statistics. Students are also shown parallel boxplots and then asked to complete questions that compare the two distributions. Prior to the lesson, students should have an understanding of measures of central tendency and know how to calculate a five-number summary. This lesson is included in Module 4 Graphical Displays and Distributions. Objectives Students will determine the five-number summary for data sets. construct standard and modified boxplots. read and interpret the distribution of data represented in boxplots. compare data represented in parallel boxplots. Level Middle Grades Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Content This lesson addresses the following Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Content. The lesson requires that students recall and apply each of these standards rather than providing the initial introduction to the specific skill. The star symbol ( ) at the end of a specific standard indicates that the high school standard is connected to modeling. Explicitly addressed in this lesson Code Standard Level of Thinking 6.SP.4 Display numerical data in plots on a number Apply line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots. 6.SP.5c Summarize numerical data sets in relation to Analyze their context, such as by giving quantitative measures of center (median and/or mean) and variability (interquartile range and/or mean absolute deviation), as well as describing any overall pattern and any striking deviations from the overall pattern with reference to the context in which the data was gathered. Depth of Knowledge II III i

2 Teacher Overview Box-and-Whisker Plots Code Standard Level of Thinking 7.SP.3 Informally assess the degree of visual overlap Analyze of two numerical data distributions with similar variabilities, measuring the difference between the centers by expressing it as a multiple of a measure of variability. For example, the mean height of players on the basketball team is 10 cm greater than the mean height of players on the soccer team, about twice the variability (mean absolute deviation) on either team; on a dot plot, the separation between the two distributions of heights is noticeable. 6.SP.5d Summarize numerical data sets in relation to Analyze their context, such as by relating the choice of measures of center and variability to the shape of the data distribution and the context in which the data was gathered. 6.NS.3 Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide Understand multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. Depth of Knowledge III Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice These standards describe a variety of instructional practices based on processes and proficiencies that are critical for mathematics instruction. LTF incorporates these important processes and proficiencies to help students develop knowledge and understanding and to assist them in making important connections across grade levels. This lesson allows teachers to address the following Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice. III II Implicitly addressed in this lesson Code Standard 1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. 2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively. 3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. 4 Model with mathematics. 6 Attend to precision. ii

5 Teacher Overview Box-and-Whisker Plots Modality LTF emphasizes using multiple representations to connect various approaches to a situation in order to increase student understanding. The lesson provides multiple strategies and models for using these representations to introduce, explore, and reinforce mathematical concepts and to enhance conceptual understanding. G N P A V P Physical V Verbal A Analytical N Numerical G Graphical v

6 Answers 1. a. Lower quartile (58.5) Minimum value (56.5) Median (73.5) Upper quartile (75.5) Teacher Overview Box-and-Whisker Plots Maximum value (103.5) b. The boxplot gives us an idea of the shape of the data, specifically, how symmetrical the data looks. It also allows us to see if the data is generally spread out or if it is bunched together. c. Median is identified by the middle of the box. The mean cannot be calculated from the boxplot alone because the individual data points are unknown. d. Range and IQR. The boxplot reveals the minimum and maximum points that allow a direct calculation of the range. Q3 and Q1 may be used to calculate the IQR. e. No. The true weakness of the boxplot is that gaps and clusters are hidden. The actual data points are not revealed in this type of graph. f. The data that lies between the upper and lower quartile is the middle 50% of the data. g. IQR = =17 Q1 1.5(IQR) = (17) = 33 Q (IQR) = (17) = 101. The maximum is an outlier since it is greater than 101. The minimum is not an outlier since is not less than 33. h. Lower quartile 1.5*IQR = 33 so any value less than 33 is an outlier. Yes, it would be an outlier. vi

7 2. a. Minimum = 16; Q1 = 34.75; median = 40; Q3 = 47; Maximum = 84 Teacher Overview Box-and-Whisker Plots b. Type Minivan SUV Cargo c. There are clearly two SUVs (marked as outliers) that have more cargo room than half of the minivans. If we had a graphical display of the actual data (like a stemplot) we could identify exact numbers to verify the claim we first stated. d. Yes. The middle of the minivan boxplot is the median that is higher than every point on the SUV boxplot that is not an outlier. e. Answers vary. We can say that 75% of the minivans have more cargo room than every SUV that is not an outlier. We can also say the minivan median is closer in value to the upper quartile while the SUV median seems to be slightly closer to the lower quartile. f. A parallel boxplot reveals exactly the same amount of information for both data sets, regardless of the amount of data in the set. g. Since there are significantly more data points for the SUV than for the minivan, it may be difficult to draw conclusions from a stemplot. The stemplot would display the exact values for all the cargo volumes. Student answers will vary as to the preferred graphical display, but the boxplot makes it easier to compare the vehicles. vii

8 3. a Salaries for the Texas Rangers Teacher Overview Box-and-Whisker Plots Salary for 2002 Five number summary: 200,000; 285,000; 1,500,000; 7,733,333; 22,000,000. But since 22,000,000 is an outlier, the next point marked is 11,000,000. b. A scale gives us an idea of the spread of the data. Plus, all graphs should include a scale. Labeling the five-number summary allows us to quickly identify those important numbers on the boxplot. c. The minimum value and lower quartile are very close compared to the spread of the rest of the data. The small lower whisker means the lower 25% of the data is very close together. If a boxplot has the lowest number that is repeated and comprises 25% or more of the data, the boxplot will not reveal a lower whisker. So, in this problem, if Danny Kolb and Doug Davis both made \$200,000 like Hank Blalock and Jovanny Cedeno, the lowest value and lower quartile would both be \$200,000. d. Yes! IQR = 7,733, ,000 = 7,448,333; 1.5*IQR = 11,172,499.50; Upper quartile + 1.5*IQR = 18,905, Any salary above \$18.9 million is an outlier. Rodriguez s salary affects only the mean, not the median. Student should circle somewhere above (to the right of) the median. e. If Rodriguez made \$18, , his salary would not be an outlier. 4. a. The median percent of iron is approximately 1.5% higher than the median percent of magnesium. b. Answers will vary. Examples: The median iron composition is higher than the median magnesium composition. The median iron composition is higher than 75% (upper quartile) of the magnesium. The highest iron composition and magnesium composition are about equal. c. The iron IQR is about 5% while the magnesium IQR is a little less than 4%. We approximate the upper and lower quartiles before subtracting to calculate the IQR. viii

9 Mathematics Box-and-Whiskers Plots 1. Karma s family is interested in buying a new minivan. Karma is involved with mountain bike racing, so the cargo volume is a very important consideration in buying the minivan. The following is a table of the cargo space measured in cubic feet in minivans available in Cargo Volume Cargo Volume 98.0 cu. ft cu. ft a. Determine the five-number summary and complete the boxplot provided, labeling the scale appropriately and indicating the value of each labeled point. Minimum value Lower quartile Median Upper quartile Maximum value b. How does the boxplot help us visualize the data? 1

10 Student Activity Box-and-Whisker Plots c. What measure(s) of central tendency can we easily identify from the boxplot? What measure(s) of central tendency can we not determine if we have only a boxplot and not all of the data? Explain. d. What measure(s) of spread can we easily calculate from the boxplot? e. Sometimes data has what we call gaps and clusters. Gaps occur when the data has large spaces between data points. Clusters occur when the data has many numbers that are very close together. Will a boxplot reveal gaps and clusters in the data? Explain. f. Explain in simple terms the significance of the data that lies between the upper and lower quartile. g. Is the maximum or minimum value an outlier? Justify your answer by showing the process used to determine whether a number is an outlier for a boxplot. h. Suppose a vehicle with 31 cubic feet of cargo volume is classified as a minivan. Would it be considered an outlier? 2

11 Student Activity Box-and-Whisker Plots 2. Karma s family decided to choose one of the minivans that had the median cargo volume. Karma explained to her friend Roberto about their family s purchase. Roberto boasted that his family s SUV had 77 cubic feet of cargo room. Karma and Roberto argued about whether minivans or sports-utility vehicles tended to have more cargo room. Roberto searched the internet and found data showing the cargo volumes, in cubic feet, of the 45 sports-utility vehicles available in 2002 as listed in the Consumer Reports Auto Issue, April a. Using technology, calculate the five-number summary of the sports-utility vehicle data. If you do not have access to the appropriate technology, your teacher will provide the values of the 5-number summary. b. Re-draw your boxplot from question 1 on the grid for the parallel boxplots provided. Add a boxplot to display the SUV data. Cargo Volume of SUVs and Minivans Type Minivan SUV Cargo Volume in Cubic Feet 3

12 Student Activity Box-and-Whisker Plots c. Do all minivans have more cargo volume than sports-utility vehicles? Explain how the graph supports your answer. Explain how you could use graphical displays of the actual data to also support your claim. d. Can we say that the minivans that are in the upper half of the boxplot have larger cargo volume than every SUV that is not an outlier? Explain using the graphs to support your answer. e. What are the main points that Karma should make in trying to convince Roberto that minivans tend to have more cargo volume? Be specific. f. What advantage does the boxplot provide in comparing the SUV data that has 45 data points to the minivan data that has 15 points? g. If you were going to draw a back-to-back stemplot for the data, what information would you need? What information could you find from the stemplot that would not be available with the boxplot? Which graphical display would you prefer for this data set? Explain your position. 4

13 Student Activity Box-and-Whisker Plots 3. Andrew s cousin, Samuel, is visiting from Australia. He is interested in baseball and would like to know more information about baseball players and their annual salaries. Andrew and Samuel discover the following salary information about some of their favorite players. Baseball Player Salary Baseball Player Salary Hank Blalock \$200,000 Dave Burba \$2,000,000 Frank Catalanotto \$2,475,000 Jovanny Cedeno \$200,000 Doug Davis \$310,000 Carl Everett \$8,666,666 Juan Gonzalez \$11,000,000 Rusty Greer \$6,800,000 Bill Haselman \$800,000 Danny Kolb \$260,000 Dan Miceli \$1,000,000 Alex Rodriguez \$22,000,000 a. Create a modified boxplot for the data. Be sure to title your plot and label the fivenumber summary. b. Why is it important to include a scale when displaying a boxplot? Why is it useful to label the five-number summary? c. Why is the lower whisker so small? What does it indicate about the data? Is it possible for a boxplot to have no lower whisker? Explain. d. Is Alex Rodriguez an outlier? How does he affect the median salary? How does he affect the mean salary? Without actually calculating the mean salary, circle on your boxplot where the mean might be located. e. What is the maximum salary, in whole numbers of dollars that Alex Rodriguez could receive so that his salary would not be an outlier? 5

14 Student Activity Box-and-Whisker Plots 4. Twenty-six samples of Romano-British pottery were found at four different kiln sites in Wales, Gwent and the New Forest. The percentage of oxides of two metals, iron and magnesium, measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, are displayed in the boxplots below. Romano-British Pottery Samples Chemical Iron Magnesium Composition % a. Approximately how much larger is the median percent of iron than the median percent of magnesium? b. Based on the graphs, make two statements about the differences in the percent of iron and magnesium. c. Which oxide has a larger IQR? Explain how you determined your answer. 6

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