Friday, 6 August 2010

Outlying Abed

I'm in love with "Community". Few shows have made me laugh as loud as this all year - if you could drop Ron Swanson & Tom Haverford into it, it might be the perfect comedy.

Watching the 4th episode, then, thrilled me as it gave me an excuse to roll this baby out in class - We we're looking at data handling, so were all over averages and charts.

We watched this, and asked the kids for some interpretation.

I paused this at the point where Troy slides out (heartbroken that there is no butt stuff...) and asked the kids if they agreed with the professor's statement "the longer they take, the harder they break" - most disagreed and said Chang's initial flip out was way more than some of the others.

I'd made up some data from the study about when they break (Name,Minutes to Flip, Force Of Flip - ranging from Snr Chang to Troy), so I then asked the class to analyse it. Some drew nice bar charts, some found what the range of times was, some found the mean/median time. (This in itself was interesting for me to see what kind of analysis they performed.

Then we hit play and saw Abed ruin the study. I asked them now to add him into their analysis. The guys with the bar charts went nuts, cos he flew way off the top of their scale. The guys who'd found a mean naturally ended up with a way higher value. The guys with the median basically didn't notice much change.

We drew conclusions (My favourite being "don't find the mean if you've got weirdos")

The line at the end ("He's ruined my study...") brought the most interesting discussion.
This time last year, we had an almighty bust up when discussing correlations when G___ suggested that taller people weighed more. Of course, one of our guys said "no i know a really big guy who's well skinny.." "I know a dead short fat dude..." and they suggested that this proved G___ wrong.
So one of the guys involved in that immediately piped up with "That last dude is an outlier!" (I wish i'd had the next 10 seconds of footage, where the professor starts screaming "you've ruined it you stupid outlying piece of data.." to give him validation from Hollywood rather than just from little old me...).

This was good, but didn't kill like i'd wanted it to. Any thoughts on fixing this?

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