You are on page 1of 11

HOW TALL?

MEASUREMENT AND DATA ANALYSIS 1

How Tall? Measurement and Data Analysis
Jose L. Bautista
The University of Texas at El Paso

HOW TALL? MEASUREMENT AND DATA ANALYSIS 2

Objective(s) ......................................................................................................................................................... 3
State Standards .................................................................................................................................................... 3
Guiding Question(s) ............................................................................................................................................ 5
Lesson Description.............................................................................................................................................. 6
Analyzing the Data ............................................................................................................................................. 6
Assessment Procedure ........................................................................................................................................ 7
Reasons for use of technologies .......................................................................................................................... 8
Re-Teaching ........................................................................................................................................................ 8
Materials ............................................................................................................................................................. 9
Appendix 1 ........................................................................................................................................................ 10
Works Cited ...................................................................................................................................................... 11

HOW TALL? MEASUREMENT AND DATA ANALYSIS 3

Grade 9, algebra I, normal class
Objective(s)

Students will:
Gather and graph data
Determine correlation coefficients
Use correlation coefficients to determine which data set is closest to being linear, and therefore is the best
predictor

State Standards (Texas Administrative Code, 2010-2011)
111.32. Algebra I (One Credit)

(a) Basic understandings.
(1) Foundation concepts for high school mathematics. As presented in Grades K-8, the basic
understandings of number, operation, and quantitative reasoning; patterns, relationships, and algebraic
thinking; geometry; measurement; and probability and statistics are essential foundations for all work in
high school mathematics. Students will continue to build on this foundation as they expand their
understanding through other mathematical experiences.

HOW TALL? MEASUREMENT AND DATA ANALYSIS 4
(2) Algebraic thinking and symbolic reasoning. Symbolic reasoning plays a critical role in algebra; symbols
provide powerful ways to represent mathematical situations and to express generalizations. Students use
symbols in a variety of ways to study relationships among quantities.
(3) Function concepts. A function is a fundamental mathematical concept; it expresses a special kind of
relationship between two quantities. Students use functions to determine one quantity from another, to
represent and model problem situations, and to analyze and interpret relationships.
(4) Relationship between equations and functions. Equations and inequalities arise as a way of asking and
answering questions involving functional relationships. Students work in many situations to set up equations
and inequalities and use a variety of methods to solve them.
(5) Tools for algebraic thinking. Techniques for working with functions and equations are essential in
understanding underlying relationships. Students use a variety of representations (concrete, pictorial,
numerical, symbolic, graphical, and verbal), tools, and technology (including, but not limited to, calculators
with graphing capabilities, data collection devices, and computers) to model mathematical situations to
solve meaningful problems.
(6) Underlying mathematical processes. Many processes underlie all content areas in mathematics. As they
do mathematics, students continually use problem-solving, language and communication, and reasoning
(justification and proof) to make connections within and outside mathematics. Students also use multiple
representations, technology, applications and modeling, and numerical fluency in problem-solving contexts.
(b) Knowledge and skills.
(1) Foundations for functions. The student understands that a function represents a dependence of one
quantity on another and can be described in a variety of ways. The student is expected to:
(A) describe independent and dependent quantities in functional relationships;
(B) gather and record data and use data sets to determine functional relationships between quantities;
HOW TALL? MEASUREMENT AND DATA ANALYSIS 5
(C) describe functional relationships for given problem situations and write equations or inequalities to
answer questions arising from the situations;
(D) represent relationships among quantities using concrete models, tables, graphs, diagrams, verbal
descriptions, equations, and inequalities; and
(E) interpret and make decisions, predictions, and critical judgments from functional relationships.
(2) Foundations for functions. The student uses the properties and attributes of functions. The student is
expected to:
(A) Identify and sketch the general forms of linear (y = x) and quadratic (y = x
2
) parent functions

Guiding Question(s)

Do ratios exist in the body that can be used to accurately predict a body measurement?
How do you know whether 2 measurements are related to each other?
What is the meaning of r? (The r-value is called the correlation coefficient. It measures how close
data are to forming a perfect line.)
Students will probably have heard about some ratios that are said to exist in the body. For example, it is
often said that if you open your arms wide and measure the length from the fingertips of one hand to the
fingertips of the other and compare this to your height, the two measurements are equal. Another example is
the claim that if you measure your height and compare it to the distance from the floor to your navel, then
the resulting ratio is approximately 1.618:1, which is also known as the golden ratio.

HOW TALL? MEASUREMENT AND DATA ANALYSIS 6
Lesson Description

The teacher would divide the class in groups of four as heterogeneous as possible. First, the teams need to
decide how many body measurements each student will record. The class reporting activity sheet in
appendix 1 identifies 10 body measurements, and allows the teams to choose up to 4 additional body
measurements to work with. Decide as a class what other measurements might be good predictors. Students
should work in teams to take each other's measurements. One of the students must be recording the
measurements in a Microsoft Excel worksheet using the activity worksheet in appendix 1 as a basis. Before
students begin working, assign each student a row number on the Excel worksheet in which to record their
personal data. If you have more than 20 students, copy the activity sheet and adjust the numbering on the
second page.

Analyzing the Data

Allow students to continue working in groups. Assign each team four body measurement to investigate.
Distribute four How Tall? activity sheet to all teams. Assign each team four body measurements to
compare to height. To calculate the correlation coefficient, r, and linear equation, y = mx + b, students
should graph the data using Microsoft Excel as a xy scatter plot and the add a linear trend line. The r-
value and equation of the graph can be displayed by checking the boxes display equation on chart and
display r-squared value on chart. Allow students to work collectively and discuss the results between
them.

HOW TALL? MEASUREMENT AND DATA ANALYSIS 7
Assessment Procedure

What is the meaning of r?
(The r-value is called the correlation coefficient. It measures how close data are to forming a perfect
line.)
How do you know whether 2 measurements are related to each other?
(The closer r is to 1 or 1, the closer the data are to forming a line, and the more one variable is
related to another. If r is 0, the data have no correlation, meaning that the values plotted on the graph
are not related to each other.)
If you were to graph hair length vs. height and found that r = 0.3, what would this tell you?
(There is very little relationship between a person's hair length and their height.)
Do ratios exist in the body that can be used to accurately predict a body measurement?
(The answer is the relationship that gives the r-value closest to 1 for your group of students. If there
were no relationships that gave an r-value close to 1, then students could conclude that ratios in body
measurements cannot be used to predict specific body measurement lengths.)
Have each team make a brief presentation before the whole class showing the results. A projector
should be useful in this case. Students can save their Excel files in an usb or any other external
device and then connect it to the instructors desktop, which should be connected to the projector.

HOW TALL? MEASUREMENT AND DATA ANALYSIS 8
Reasons for use of technologies

The use of Microsoft Excel worksheets to analyze sets of data and taking advantage of its mathematical and
probabilistic functions is common practice in the real professional world. Therefore, students get exposed to
real practices that can prepare them for successful academic achievement during their college and
professional education.

Re-Teaching

1. Based on students presentations about results and correlations, the teacher might allow more time for
students to discuss their results. In addition, have students explore the correlations between different
body measurements, not just height. For example, students could explore whether a relationship exists
between the length of their pinkie fingers and their shoulder width. Is there a relationship between any 2
measurements that is a better correlation than the one they found in the activity? The teacher might
guide them should they need help but must allow them to first work effectively as teams.
2. Students could combine their height predictor calculations with those of another class who are in a
different age group. Does this affect the results? Why would this be? This works well if you use this
activity in more than one class or collaborate with another teacher.
3. The data could be grouped by gender, plotting data for males and females on different graphs. Does this
affect what body measurement is the best predictor for height? Do the equations of the lines change?

HOW TALL? MEASUREMENT AND DATA ANALYSIS 9
Materials

Measuring tape or yard stick.
Computer with Microsoft Excel software, one per team.
Class Reporting Activity Sheet.
How Tall? Activity Sheet.
HOW TALL? MEASUREMENT AND DATA ANALYSIS 10
Appendix 1
Class Reporting Activity Sheet

Figure 1: Class Reporting Activity Sheet (The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2011)
HOW TALL? MEASUREMENT AND DATA ANALYSIS 11
Works Cited

Texas Administrative Code. (2010-2011). Chapter 111. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science
Subchapter C. High School. Retrieved July 27, 2011, from Texas Education Code:
http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter111/ch111c.html
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2011). How Tall? Retrieved July 27, 2011, from
Illuminations: http://illuminations.nctm.org/