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Data is slippery stuff

20 Apr

FallOnIce-738120My students know that I can go on and on endlessly about vaccines and immunology – and I also publish here on the same topic. It only makes sense, I may be an intro bio teacher most days, but I’ve spent most of my life working in immunology, including getting my degree in that field.

However, it’s not the only thing I harp on. For instance, I want my students to examine data they are given and think about what that data means. Data is just data, i.e. numbers. If I told you “5652“, it would be meaningless, but it becomes meaningful when units are applied and you know what those units truly stand for. That particular number would seem high if I said it was the number of dollars a hamburger at Five Guys cost (ps – their burgers as terrific, just maybe not $5,652 terrific). It would seem a low number if I told you that was how many people lived in NYC (Google tells me that real number is about 8,244,910).

Image

What Do I Mean?

So, here’s some real data I was directed to this morning (whilst in my convalescence):

Make sure you look closely at it and interpret the data just from the information given (the article it references discusses the data broadly, but does not tell you anything more about it).

Click on the chart and see the article it refers to. What is that article TITLED?

I’m not going to write any more just now, but I do intend to return to this in a couple of hours (pending any comments)

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Posted by on April 20, 2013 in Education

 

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