# Interpreting Residuals from a Line

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1 Interpreting Residuals from a Line The gestation time for an animal is the typical duration between conception and birth. The longevity of an animal is the typical lifespan for that animal. The gestation times (in days) and longevities (in years) for 13 types of animals are shown in the table below. Animal Gestation Time (days) Longevity (years) Baboon Black Bear Beaver Bison Cat Chimpanzee Cow Dog Fox (Red) 52 7 Goat Lion Sheep Wolf 63 5 Data Source: Core Math Tools, Finding the equation of the least-squares line relating longevity to gestation time for these types of animal provides the equation to predict longevity. How good is the line? In other words, if you were given the gestation time for another type of animal not included in the original list, how accurate would the leastsquares line be at predicting the longevity of that type of animal? Let s investigate Use your graphing calculator to create a scatter plot for this data set. Then, find the linear regression where represents the gestation time (in days) and represents longevity (in years), rounding to the nearest ten-thousandth. Least-squares Line:

2 The least-squares line has been added to the scatter plot below. 1. Suppose a particular type of animal has a gestation time of 200 days. Approximately what value does the least-squares line predict for the longevity of that type of animal? Use your equation to calculate this. 2. Would the value you predicted in question (1) necessarily be the exact value for the longevity of that type of animal? Could the actual longevity of that type of animal be longer than predicted? Could it be shorter? You can investigate further by looking at the types of animal included in the original data set. Take the lion, for example. Its gestation time is days. You also know that its longevity is years, but what does the least-squares line predict for the lion s longevity? Substituting days into the equation, you get: or approximately. The least-squares line predicts the lion s longevity to be approximately years. 3. How close is this to being correct? More precisely, how much do you have to add to 10.6 to get the lion s true longevity of 15?

3 You can show the prediction error of 4.4 years on the graph like this: 4. Let s continue to think about the gestation times and longevities of animals. Let s specifically investigate how accurately the least-squares line predicted the longevity of the black bear. a. What is the gestation time for the black bear? b. Look at the graph. Roughly what does the least-squares line predict for the longevity of the black bear? c. Use the gestation time from (a) and the least-squares line to predict the black bear s longevity. Round your answer to the nearest tenth. d. What is the actual longevity of the black bear? e. How much do you have to add to the predicted value to get the actual longevity of the black bear? f. Show your answer to part (e) on the graph as a vertical line segment.

4 5. Repeat this activity for the sheep. a. Substitute the sheep s gestation time for x into the equation to find the predicted value for the sheep s longevity. Round your answer to the nearest tenth. b. What do you have to add to the predicted value in order to get the actual value of the sheep s longevity? (Hint: Your answer should be negative.) c. Show your answer to part (b) on the graph as a vertical line segment. Write a sentence describing points in the graph for which a negative number would need to be added to the predicted value in order to get the actual value. In each example above, you found out how much needs to be added to the predicted value in order to find the true value of the animal s longevity. In other words, you were calculating residuals. residual = actual y value predicted y value The values of the residuals are shown in the table below. Animal Gestation Time (days) Longevity (years) Residual Baboon Black Bear Beaver Bison Cat Chimpanzee Cow Dog Fox (Red) Goat Lion Sheep Wolf These residuals show that the actual longevity of an animal should be within six years of the longevity predicted by the least-squares line. Make sure you understand where the number six comes from.

5 6. Suppose you selected a type of animal that is not included in the original data set, and the gestation time for this type of animal is 270 days. Substituting x = 270 into the equation of the least-squares line you get: years. Think about what the actual longevity of this type of animal might be. a. Could it be 30 years? How about 5 years? b. Judging by the size of the residuals in our table, what kind of values do you think would be reasonable for the longevity of this type of animal? 7. The gestation time for the type of animal called the ocelot is known to be 85 days. The least-squares line predicts the longevity of the ocelot to be: years a. Based on the residuals in the table what might be a sensible range of values for the actual longevity of the ocelot? b. We know that the actual longevity of the ocelot is 9 years. What is the residual for the ocelot?

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