Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

And Now, the Weather - Describing Data with Statistics

Figure from experiment 26 from Real-World Math with Vernier


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.


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

Sensors and Equipment

This activity 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 with Vernier »

Real-World Math with Vernier

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
6Mix It Up - Mixing Liquids of Different Temperatures
7Spring Thing - Newton's Second Law
8Stretch It to the Limit - The Linear Force Relation for a Rubber Band
9What Goes Up - Position and Time for a Cart on a Ramp
10That's the Way the Ball Bounces - Height and Time for a Bouncing Ball
11Walk This Way - Definition of Rate
12Velocity Test - Interpreting Graphs
13From Here to There - Applications of the Distance Formula
14Under Pressure - The Inverse Relationship between Pressure and Volume
15Light at A Distance - Distance and Intensity
16Chill Out: How Hot Objects Cool
17Charging Up, Charging Down - Charging a Capacitor
18Bounce Back - The Pattern of Rebound Heights
19Sour Chemistry - The Exponential pH Change
20Swinging Ellipses - Plotting an Ellipse
21Lights Out! - Periodic Phenomena
22Tic, Toc: Pendulum Motion
23Stay Tuned: Sound Waveform Models
24Up And Down: Damped Harmonic Motion
25How Tall? Describing Data with Statistical Plots
26And Now, the Weather - Describing Data with Statistics
27Meet You at the Intersection: Solving a System of Linear Equations
28Titration Curves: An Application of the Logistic Function
29Clock Design: Period and Length of a Simple Pendulum
30Graph It in Pieces: Piecewise Defined Functions
31Stepping to the Greatest Integer: The Greatest Integer Function
32Crawling Around: Parametric Plots

Activity 26 from Real-World Math with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Real-World Math with Vernier</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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