Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Hazel, a parent:

I wanna ask about my son's homework re: reading stem and leaf plots.
It's really hard for me to understand about this..please show me how.
Ex. Number of dogs competing in dog shows
Stem Leaf
1       62024
2       5295
3       166
4       05
1. What was the least number of dogs at a dog show?
2.What was the greatest number of dogs at a dog show?
3. How many dogs shows are reported in the stem and leaf plot?

Hi Hazel,

A stem and leaf plot of some data is a way to present you with the actual data and also a display that shows the shape of the distribution of the data. This data is a collection of two digit numbers, each number being the number of dogs at one of 14 dog shows. To read the data you read the first digit from the stem and the second digit from the leaf. The data is

16; 1       62024
12; 1       62024
10; 1       62024
12; 1       62024
14; 1       62024
25; 2       5295

and so on.

In most stem and leaf plots that I have seen the second digits are sorted, so I would have presented this as

Stem Leaf
1       02246
2       2559
3       166
4       05

and then it is easy to read off the smallest and largest observations.

I hope this helps,

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