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Census in Counties - Describing and Comparing Histograms to Understand American Life

Census in Counties - Describing and Comparing Histograms to Understand American Life

Activity Description


Students will analyze a variety of county-level census data, including on employment, technology, and transportation, in histograms to compare and contrast the shapes of their distributions and to interpret measures of center and spread in context.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

45-60 minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to analyze data and describe data distributions.
  • Students will be able to understand skewness and how it affects the mean and median.
  • Students will be able to determine the direction of skewness from a distribution’s mean and median.
  • Students will be able to understand the impact of outliers on the standard deviation and interquartile range.

Materials Required

  • The student version of this activity, 16 pages

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will understand how the mean and median relate in skewed distributions. They will also analyze and
evaluate census data to draw conclusions about which measure of center is more representative for various


High School Math


  • Histograms
  • Measures of center
  • Measures of spread
  • Shape of distributions
  • Skewness

Skills Taught

  • Interpreting skewness from a graph
  • Interpreting the standard deviation and interquartile range
  • Understanding skewness and its effect on the mean and the median
  • Understanding when to use the mean versus the median
Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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