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Graphing: Health and Height vs. Weight

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Kate Nowak (a.k.a., @k8nowak) asked for a lesson involving plotting and residuals. I’ve been thinking about my lack-of-classroom-curricula-posting lately, so here’s a little bit of something.

For 9th grade science, there’s usually a graphing unit/component. Besides ye-olde height-vs.-shoe size graph (which usually works a little too well and gets some freshmen embarrassed), I started height-vs.-weight of semi-public figures. I found (and periodically update) the heights and weights of local NFL, MLB, WNBA, Olympic gymnasts, jockeys, female weightlifters, sumo wrestlers, and supermodels (this last one is very difficult to find, especially weight at the time of active modeling).

Data here: HtWtGraphing2013

When it’s graphed, it looks something like this: [ARGH! can’t get it to paste a picture… will add this when I can figure it out.]

Anyway. I don’t have a whole lesson plan around it because my school is different and lessons are really flexible. However, my instructions are something like this:

  1. Pick 4 of those lists and graph them on the same plot. (Make sure you have enough room for all of the numbers. Do you need negatives? Got a title?)
  2. For each set of data, make a line of best fit. (note: the sumo wrestlers list is really weird.)
  3. According to WHO, (70″, 176lb.) and (76″, 205lb.) cuts a line between “normal” and “overweight” (not “obese”). Graph this line.
  4. Look where your data fall. How do your graphed people compare?
  5. Most of these people are professional athletes (other than supermodels). Are they overweight? What are some problems with defining “normal” and “overweight” and “obese”?
  6. Are all athletes of a particular body type?
  7. Is weight a good indicator of health?
  8. What other factors are good health indicators/measures?
  9. What other factors could influence health for a person of seemingly “normal” weight?

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