Using some temperature graphs from Deke Arndt to talk about probability distributions with kids

Via my friend Ed Adlerman, I saw some amazing temperature graphs made by Deke Arndt:

I thought these graphs could be used for a great introductory statistics talk for kids, so I decided to used them to talk about probability distributions today.

We started by looking a probability distributions in a relatively simple situation -> dice:

Next we moved to talking about a probability distribution in a more complicated situation -> a “Galton board”:

Now we moved on to discussing Arndt’s graphs. The conversation about these graphs went on for 11 minutes. As always it is fascinating to hear what kids see when they look at advanced math.

Here’s the first part of that 11 min discussion – here you’ll hear their initial observations and a bit about how to interpret the distributions on display here.

Here’s the second part of our conversation about the graphs. Here we talk about what all of these pictures are telling us about the temperature in Sydney during the last 60 years.

We wrap up by talking about whether or not they liked this presentation and different ways to present the data that would have been made the presentation harder to understand (I though this would be an easier question for kids than finding ways to make it better).

I think Arndt’s work here is amazing all by itself, but is also something that I think can be used really effectively to talk about probability and statistics with kids. Thanks to him for sharing this great work.