Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

And Now, the Weather - Describing Data with Statistics

Figure from experiment 29 from Real-World Math Made Easy

Introduction

Meteorologists use mathematics to interpret weather patterns and make predictions. Part of the job involves collecting and analyzing temperature data. Once the meteorologists have collected a large number of measurements, they have a problem: How do they make sense of a long list of numbers? What is needed is a way of describing the set of data with just a few numbers. We call those numbers descriptive statistics. One important need is to be able to represent the set of measurements with a single number. There are several ways to do this:

  • The mean temperature is what we usually think of when we hear the word “average.” It is the sum of the temperature values in the data set divided by the number of elements in the set.
  • The median temperature represents the center data point of the set after all the elements have been placed in order from lowest to highest.

Almost any weather report includes a summary of the day’s high temperature, called the maximum value, and the day’s low temperature, called the minimum value. The difference between these two statistics, called the range, shows the variability or spread of the data.

In this activity you will collect outdoor temperature readings over a day-long period using a temperature probe. After this data has been transferred to the calculator, you will use its statistical analysis tools to create your own temperature report.

Objectives

  • Record temperature data over a day-long period.
  • Describe the temperature data using statistical concepts.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Real-World Math Made Easy »

Real-World Math Made Easy

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Walk the Line - Straight Line Distance Graphs
2Making Cents of Math: Linear Relationship between Weight and Quantity
3Pool Plunge - Linear Relationship between Water Depth and Pressure
4Funnel Volumes - Volume and Weight
5Keep It Bottled Up - Rates of Pressure Increase
6Graph It in Pieces: Piecewise Defined Functions
7Mix It Up - Mixing Liquids of Different Temperatures
8Spring Thing - Newton's Second Law
9Stretch It to the Limit - The Linear Force Relation for a Rubber Band
10What Goes Up - Position and Time for a Cart on a Ramp
11That's the Way the Ball Bounces - Height and Time for a Bouncing Ball
12Walk This Way - Definition of Rate
13Velocity Test - Interpreting Graphs
14From Here to There - Applications of the Distance Formula
15Under Pressure - The Inverse Relationship between Pressure and Volume
16Light at A Distance - Distance and Intensity
17Chill Out: How Hot Objects Cool
18Charging Up, Charging Down - Charging a Capacitor
19Bounce Back - The Pattern of Rebound Heights
20Sour Chemistry - The Exponential pH Change
21Stepping to the Greatest Integer: The Greatest Integer Function
22Swinging Ellipses - Plotting an Ellipse
23Crawling Around: Parametric Plots
24Lights Out! - Periodic Phenomena
25Tic, Toc: Pendulum Motion
26Stay Tuned: Sound Waveform Models
27Up And Down: Damped Harmonic Motion
28How Tall? Describing Data with Statistical Plots
29And Now, the Weather - Describing Data with Statistics
30Meet You at the Intersection: Solving a System of Linear Equations
31Titration Curves: An Application of the Logistic Function

Experiment 29 from Real-World Math Made Easy Lab Book

<i>Real-World Math Made Easy</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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