Stem and Leaf Plot Activity
Materials needed
 overhead projector, transparencies of sample stem and leaf plots,
activity worksheets (Follow links below to download the worksheets
needed for this activity. Worksheets were created using
Math Composer.)
Lesson:
 Intro: What are statistics? Have a class discussion about what they
think of when they hear the word statistics, where they come across
statistics in their life, and what statistics are used for. Discuss the
reasons for using graphical/pictorial representations for displaying
statistics.
 Show two sets of test scores from a class represented in stem and
leaf plots and back to back stem and leaf plots (see
test score materials). Explain basics of stem and leaf plots and
how to create them. Discuss with the class what they can see/generalize
from looking at the stem and leaf plots. What might be some limitations?
 Give students the handout with instructions for data collecting
activity. (see data collecting handouts).
Students will pair up. Each student is given the same sentence to write.
One student in each pair will be the timer first and time the other
student writing the sentence with their dominant hand and then with
their nondominant hand. They will record both times. Then the students
switch roles and repeat the process.
 The class will write all the results on a chart on the board. Each
student will copy the data from the board and put it into two separate
stem and leaf plots (one for the dominant hand results and one for the
nondominant hand results) and then a back to back stem and leaf plot
with both sets of data in one plot.
 The class will discuss what we can see about the data from the plots
(outliers, comparisons and contrasts between the sets of data,
generalizations) and what are positives and negatives about this type of
representation. What kind of data might be appropriate to represent with
stem and leaf plots?
