Q8 Whiskers

13. Dig the Data


In this Quest you will analyze information to determine the best cell phone plan for six relatives, or members of a household, based on data for their different ages (teenager under 18, 20, 43, 46, 63, and 66 years old). This is different than the activity in Quest 7. In this Quest you will use Box and Whiskers graphs to help analyze the data in a different way. Knowing which type of graph to use to represent a set of data takes skill and insight in addition to organizing, and analyzing the data. This is an important skill you are likely to use for future employment and for courses you take. You may have some opinions or ideas on the best cell plan, but a Box and Whiskers plot will give you a fresh way to look at the plans. 

Your task is to make a recommendation on how many voice minutes, text messages, and how many Gigabytes of data should be included in a family plan to meet the most needs. It is likely that not everyone will get what they want and compromises will need to be made. The data you will be using is based on national statistics by age group.

We recommend working with a partner as you do this Quest.

I Can Statements

  • analyze data and create a visual representation of it
  • know how to create a box and whiskers plot to represent data

Key Vocabulary

Box and Whiskers plot: A box and whiskers plot is a graphic way to display the median, quartiles, and extremes of a data set on a number line to show the distribution of the data.

Data: Data are facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.

Median: Median is the middle number (in a sorted list of numbers).

Quartile: Quartile is the values that divide a list of numbers into quarters.

Play the interactive Quizlet Game: Direct Link

1. Watch this video tutorial to learn about Box and Whiskers Plots (on YouTube) from mashupmath.com.


2. With a partner (or on your own) you are going to document your work on this activity. You can use the spreadsheet provided below, the Student Checklist, or one your teacher may provide.

Box and Whisker 21t4s Part 1 Video Demonstration (5 min)  Direct link to this video

3. Overview: You will be creating two box and whisker plots of phone data provided in the spreadsheet to help as you analyze the data and consider your recommendation.

  • A plot of the average number of minutes of voice messages
  • A plot of the average number of text messages.

3. Download or make a copy of one of the 13.Q8 Box and Whiskers Data spreadsheets. Select the one for the platform you are using or check with your teacher.

4. Directions and the Part 2 Video demonstration are provided in the content box below to plot the data.

Part 2 Video Demonstration (7 min) Direct link to this video

5. Use this 13.Q8.Box and Whiskers .PDF for the next set of directions. You may want to replay the short video in the section above.

6. When done with each plot take a screen-shot of the plot and paste it into the document you will turn in at the end:

  • the spreadsheet provided
  • the Student Checklist
  • alternate document (your own or provided by your teacher)

7. Look at your Box and Whisker Plots and then the Number line and Example Bar Graphs included in the spreadsheet document.

8. Discuss the following questions on the Analysis sheet of your spreadsheet document, discuss them with your partner or a classmate. Write the answers in your document.

  • How do the online plots compare to the number line and bar graphs?

  • Why might they look different? 

  • Do they give you the same information as the box and whiskers? Why or why not?

  • What does the median tell you about the data collected?

  • Why are Quartile One and Quartile Three important? 

  • Which was more difficult to decide on: Voice minutes or text messages? Why?

8. Time to prepare your recommendation. Check with your teacher if they have an alternate plan.

  • You and your partner decide on how many minutes your family should purchase and how many text messages your family can purchase. Be prepared to defend your answer. Use your data plots and keep in mind that not everyone may have all of the voice minutes they are used to using, or all of the text messages they are used to having!
  • When you are prepared with a reasonable plan for your family, defend your solution to two other groups. After discussion with two other groups, write a paragraph that will serve as a sales pitch for your recommendation, using terms such as median, quartile, and data.
  • Create an advertisement using a media resource (video, audio, presentation tool)  which will get your message across, be informative, and use one or more of your screenshots to help convince the audience that you have the best plan for this family unit.

8. Pitch your recommendation to your class for a vote, being prepared to defend it based on the data. Good luck, may the whiskers be with you! 

Completing this Quest

Turn in your presentation with supporting documentation (screen shots and answers to the questions). Check with your teacher to find out how he/she wants you to share your work with them.

 Check off this Quest on the 21t4s roadmap 

 Go to Quest 9, Changes Over Time

13.Q8 Student Checklist


13.Q8 Teacher Guide


Please note: special Teacher directions are available in the Teacher Resources for this activity.

MITECS  Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students, and

ISTE Standards for Students

1. Empowered Learner
d. Understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies

5. Computational Thinker
a. Formulate problem definitions suited for technology assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions
b. Collect data or identify relevant data sets, use digital tools to analyze them, and represent data in various ways to facilitate problem-solving and decision-making
c. Break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving

6. Creative Communicator
a. Choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication
c. Communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations
d. Publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences