Education Technology

Describing Categorical Data

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

Students analyze the distribution of categorical data. They calculate percents and visually compare the data sets with a bar chart.

Before the Activity

  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 37 - 43 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    Follow the Activity procedures:

  • Enter the population versus race data as lists
  • Express the data in percent form
  • Plot the percent data as a bar graph [histogram]
  • Compare the population distribution


  • Enter a more detailed population, age group, and race data as lists
  • Save the data in a matrix
  • Calculate the column percents
  • Draw comparative bar charts
  • Examine the age-wise population distribution for each race
  • Calculate the percent of each cell using the total population number
  • Calculate the row percents and store the results in a matrix
  • Draw bar charts to show the population distribution for each age group
  • After the Activity

    Review student results:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary