Samantha Jensen
Statistics and Probability
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
11, 12
Box Plots, Center, Math, Spread, Statistics
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

Education Standards (6)

Analyzing Center and Spread Using Stacked Box Plots Activity


This activity encourages students to analyze center and spread of the number of chocolate chips in 5 different brands of chocolate chip cookies.


Allow students to make observations about comparing and contrasting the different box plots.  Obviously, we want students to comment on similarities and differences of the centers and spreads.  The attached hand-out can be used in class if you would like for students to record their observations on paper.  Teachers may decide to just have students simply discuss their observation with a partner.

stacked boxplots

Use the boxplots above that display the chip counts of 5 different brands of cookies to compare the distributions, specifically their centers and spreads.  List at least 5 observations.



If students were working individully on Task 1, then in Task 2 students should share their observations with a partner.  Then add to their list of observations on the hand-out.

Share your observations with a partner.


This step should push students to make connections between the box plots and the context of the chocolate chips.  Hopefully, students will consider the size of the chips, size of the cookies, and other practical differences that may account for the differences in distributions.

Interpret your observations in the context of chocolate chips and discuss possible explanations for the different distributions.


Students will make a copy of the google doc and complete the assessment.  Students will then share that with you or you can print it for them and make paper copies for them to turn in to you.

Click on this link to the google doc which will ask you to make a copy. 

Complete the assessment and share with your teacher.