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Differences in Earnings Across Sex and Educational Attainment: Comparing Box Plots

Activity Description

Differences in Earnings for Men and Women

Students will interpret box plots that represent the national median earnings of men and women aged 25 and older whose highest levels of educational attainment are either a high school diploma (or equivalent) or a bachelor’s degree. Students will use the box plots to identify each data set’s median, maximum, minimum, first quartile, third quartile, range, interquartile range, and outliers. They will also compare the box plots to draw conclusions about differences in earnings between the sexes and between levels of educational attainment.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

90 Minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to interpret a box plot.
  • Students will be able to compare different variables across data sets.
  • Students will be able to compare box plots to make claims and inferences based on the data.

Materials Required

  • The student version of this activity, 8 pages
  • Calculators

Activity Items

The following item is part of this activity.

  • Box Plots


Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will analyze box plots to determine values present in the data, to compare variables, and to evaluate
those variables’ relationships to each other.


High School Math


  • Box plots
  • Interquartile range
  • Levels of educational attainment
  • Median
  • Median earnings
  • Outliers
  • Quartiles

Skills Taught

  • Comparing and interpreting box plots
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