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Commuting to Work: Box Plots, Central Tendency, Outliers

Commuting to Work: Box Plots, Central Tendency, Outliers

Activity Description

Commuting to Work

Students will calculate various measures of central tendency using data on the number of people who bike to work in select states. Students will then create a box plot to represent the data set and answer conceptual questions about the impact of the data set’s outlier.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

45 Minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to analyze and draw conclusions about the effect of an outlier on the mean, median, and shape of a data distribution.
  • Students will be able to assess the accuracy of measures of central tendency and variability in the presence of outliers.
  • Students will be able to assess the utility of outliers, specifically that they may illuminate influential factors relevant to the data set that may otherwise not have been evident.
  • Students will be able to make precise claims about the data set and nature of outliers.

Materials Required

  • The student version of this activity, 9 pages
  • Calculators

Activity Items

The following item is part of this activity.

  • Number of People Who Bike to Work in Select States


Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will analyze data by making calculations and comparisons, as well as by distinguishing between facts and inferences.


High School Math


  • Box plots
  • Central tendency
  • 5-number summary
  • Outliers

Skills Taught

  • Analyzing the impact of an outlier on the mean and median
  • Calculating a 5-number summary
  • Calculating measures of central tendency and variability
  • Creating a box plot
Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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