Subject: Stem and leaf plot

I'm tutoring my 5th grade nephew, and he needs to correct test questions regarding a stem - and - leaf plot. He left his book at school and I'm not familiar with the term. Can you explain it to me so that I can help him?

Kelly

Hi Kelly,

A stem-and-leaf plot is a way of presenting or displaying data. I find it particularly useful for data with two digits. In particular it is a nice way to present test scores. For example, suppose that my class has written a test and the scores are

76 78 67 89 67 87 77 75 79 83 82 83 85 92 73 54 57 To prepare a stem-and-leaf plot first sort the data in numerical order 92 89 87 85 83 83 82 79 78 77 76 75 73 67 67 57 54

Now present the data in two columns. The left column is the stem column. (in this data the stems are the tens digits, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5.) The right column is the leaf column. (These numbers are the units digits.) In each row write the units digits on the order of the sorted list above.

 stem | leaf ___________ 9 | 2 8 | 23357 7 | 356789 6 | 77 5 | 47

I have also seen stem-and-leaf plots that have the largest numbers at the bottom and the smallest at the top.

 stem | leaf ___________ 5 | 47 6 | 77 7 | 356789 8 | 23357 9 | 2

A nice feature of a stem-and-leaf plot is that the data is all there. In most plots of statistical data the individual numbers are lost, you only see the general shape. Here I can see the shape (most of the scores are in the 70's and 80's with one 90 and two 60's and 70's) but I can also tell you exactly what the data values are.

I hope this helps,
Penny
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