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    This lesson plan is a unit filled with related lesson plans. One or two parts of this project could be completed as a stand-alone lesson, or the entire set of activities and extensions could be completed for an involved, integrated unit.

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Learning outcomes

Students will collect data from 20 people. They will use the data collected to find central tendencies, construct stem-and-leaf plots, box-and-whisker plots, and scatterplots, and use the data to make predictions.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

5 days


  • colored pencils or markers
  • calculators
  • project sheets which are provided by the teacher
  • pencils
  • construction paper for the cover


The following concepts are taught prior to the project being assigned:

  • how to find the central tendencies of a set of numbers (mean, mode, median)
  • how to construct and read stem-and-leaf plots
  • how to make frequency tables and scatter plots


Day 1

Students are given an overview of the project and a data collection sheet. They are encouraged to collect data from 20 people who represent different age and ethnic groups. They decide which type of numeric data they want to collect from the following choices: # of sisters, # of brothers, mother’s age, # of cars owned by parents, # of bathrooms, age, height, weight, shoe size. They then choose 3 types of non-numeric data to collect from the following: favorite color, favorite sport, color of house, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite soft drink.

Day 2

Students come to class with completed data collection sheet. They use this data to find the mean, mode, median, upper and lower quartiles of the numeric data collected. They are then able to construct a box plot of each.

Day 3

Students choose one of the numeric data topics chosen and make a stem-and-leaf plot. They also make a frequency table for each of the non-numeric data collected.

Day 4

Discuss as a class the concept of sample size and proportions. Use the results from the students’ data to make predictions about larger populations using proportions.

Day 5

Students choose 2 of the numeric data collected, make a scatter plot, and determine if there is a correlation (positive or negative relationship). Students also choose one of the non-numeric data and make a bar graph. The students also make a cover to present their project.


Determine if each part of the project is done correctly by using the data which was collected by the individual students. The predictions should be accompanied by the work done to find the answers. The scatter plot should have a line of best fit. Each part of the project carries a different weight in the grading. The stem-and-leaf plot, along with the bar graph, are worth the least amount of points because they are the least difficult to complete. The scatterplot and the predictions are worth the most points because they are the more challenging activities.

Supplemental information


I have used this lesson for the last five years and the children really enjoy the entire process of collecting and manipulating data. Every year, I make new data sheets and different formats. This is determined by the students that I teach and their ability levels.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 6

        • Statistics & Probability
          • 6.SP.2Understand that a set of data collected to answer a statistical question has a distribution which can be described by its center, spread, and overall shape.
          • 6.SP.4Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots.
          • 6.SP.5Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context, such as by: Reporting the number of observations. Describing the nature of the attribute under investigation, including how it was measured and its units of measurement. Giving quantitative...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 5

  • Goal 4: Data Analysis and Probability - The learner will understand and use graphs and data analysis.
    • Objective 4.01: Collect, organize, analyze, and display data (including stem-and-leaf plots) to solve problems.
    • Objective 4.02: Compare and contrast different representations of the same data; discuss the effectiveness of each representation.
    • Objective 4.03: Solve problems with data from a single set or multiple sets of data using median, range, and mode.

Grade 6

  • Goal 4: Data Analysis and Probability - The learner will understand and determine probabilities.
    • Objective 4.06: Design and conduct experiments or surveys to solve problems; report and analyze results

Grade 7

  • Goal 4: Data Analysis and Probability - The learner will understand and use graphs and data analysis.
    • Objective 4.01: Collect, organize, analyze, and display data (including box plots and histograms) to solve problems.
    • Objective 4.02: Calculate, use, and interpret the mean, median, mode, range, frequency distribution, and inter-quartile range for a set of data.
    • Objective 4.03: Describe how the mean, median, mode, range, frequency distribution, and inter-quartile range of a set of data affect its graph.
    • Objective 4.05: Solve problems involving two or more sets of data using appropriate statistical measures.

Grade 8

  • Goal 4: Data Analysis and Probability - The learner will understand and use graphs and data analysis.
    • Objective 4.01: Collect, organize, analyze, and display data (including scatterplots) to solve problems.
    • Objective 4.02: Approximate a line of best fit for a given scatterplot; explain the meaning of the line as it relates to the problem and make predictions.