Education Technology

Middle Grades Math: Analyzing Country Data
by Texas Instruments

Updated on November 03, 2014


  • Students will determine and interpret percents to summarize data.
  • Students will interpret medians and quartiles to summarize sample data. Use measures of center and measures of variability to draw informal comparative inferences about two populations.
  • Students will compare and contrast different sample data summarized by box plots and histograms. They will assess the degree of visual overlap of two numerical data distributions.
  • Students will construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • Students will use appropriate tools strategically.


  • boxplot
  • dot plot
  • histogram
  • median
  • population
  • quartiles
  • sample

About the Lesson

This activity involves sample listings of the ages of 200 people from each of three countries: USA, Kenya, and Japan.

Students will:

  • Consider why a summary of ages is important and how a summary of the ages can be connected to a better understanding of the populations of each country.
  • Examine sample ages from the three countries displayed in a spreadsheet and in histograms with percent on the vertical scale that highlight the distinctive features of the distribution of the ages from each sample.
  • Connect descriptions of the histograms to summaries based on box plots.
  • Learn that samples are not exact pictures of the population but sample statistics can provide a reasonable way to develop estimates of the total populations of each country.
  • As an extension, students create a sample of their “own” country and put together a summary of the country based on the sample.