Park City Mathematics Institute
Data, Statistics, and Probability

Analyzing Backpack Weights
by Armando Madrigal, Lamar Academy, McAllen ISD

    Teacher Notes: MS Word || PDF
    Fathom Document: Fathom || Fathom zipped
    Fathom Document: Fathom || Fathom zipped
    Student Worksheet: MS Word || PDF

Grades 9-12 math classes exploring data analysis.

   TI-83 ,TI-84 (or equivalent capable graphing calculators)
   Fathom™ Dynamic Data™ Software Version 2


  • Analyze actual and guessed backpack weights of individuals.
  • Interpret and analyze various tables and graphs of the data.
  • Use probability distributions as tools to understand and analyze the data.
  • Attempt to look beyond the data in different contexts.

This Fathom 2 classroom activity could be adapted for work in groups or as an individual project depending on the experience of the students in data analysis.

The purpose of this activity is to introduce students to data analysis through the use of the collection of data, tables, graphs and distributions. First, the students are asked to perform rote calculations to organize and analyze data. Then the students are presented with open-ended questions that stimulate analysis and interpretation of tables and graphs. Finally, the students are asked reflective questions that allow students to look beyond the data in several contexts.

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With program support provided by Math for America

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under DMS-0940733 and DMS-1441467. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.