What’s Going On in This Graph? | April 10, 2019

What’s Going On in This Graph? | April 10, 2019

1. These graphs show the sonic “fingerprints” of the Top 10 summer hits for eight years, selected from the fingerprints for 1988 – 2018. Use the example for Gloria Estefan’s “1-2-3” below to understand how to read the fingerprints.


The graphs originally appeared elsewhere on NYTimes.com. On the afternoon of Thursday, April 4, we will provide additional background about the graphs as well as relevant statistical concepts.

After looking closely at the graphs, think about these three questions:

What do you notice?
What do you wonder?
What are you curious about that comes from what you notice in the graphs?
What might be going on in this graph?
Write a catchy headline that captures the graphs’ main idea. If your headline makes a claim, tell us what you noticed that supports your claim.

The questions are intended to build on one another, so try to answer them in order. Start with “I notice,” then “I wonder,” and end with “The story this graph is telling is ….” and a catchy headline.

2. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say or they can have their students use this same activity on Desmos.)

3. After you have posted, read what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting a comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.

On Wednesday our collaborator, the American Statistical Association, will facilitate this discussion from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time to help students’ understanding go deeper. You might use their responses as models for your own.

4. On April 11, we will reveal more information about the graphs at the bottom of this post. Students, we encourage you to post an additional comment after reading the reveal. How does the original New York Times article and the moderators’ comments help you see the graphs differently? Try to incorporate the statistical terms defined in the Stat Nuggets in your response.