The statistically marvelous medical growth chart: A tool for teaching variability


Book: 
Teaching of Psychology
Authors: 
Weaver, K. A.
Category: 
Volume: 
26(4)
Pages: 
284-286
Year: 
1999
Abstract: 

Plotting girls' and boys' weights on a medical growth chart in the introductory statistics course illustrates variability, the normal distribution, percentiles, z scores, outliers, bivariate graphing, and simple regression. The chart presents the spread of weights for newborns through 36 months, includes percentile scores, and represents a bivariate distribution with age on the abscissa and weight on the ordinate. Students plot their own weights to understand how the chart works and then plot the weights of a selected boy and girl to understand how the chart identifies outliers for follow-up tests on hormone levels, nutrition, and intellectual development. Instructors in other psychology courses (e.g., developmental, child, abnormal, introductory, and educational psychology) may also find the chart useful when covering infant development.