Questions this assignment addresses: How can we use numbers to understand our past? You will read, use websites and a spreadsheet, answer questions, and submit your answers to the dropbox Numbers I.

Go to http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/activities/SimpleMontyHall/

Play the game. Do you understand why you should always switch?

If not, go to http://webs.wofford.edu/bednarjt/monty/montyhall.html for an explanation.

- Identify the difference between the mean, median, and mode of a group of numbers.
- Open a spreadsheet file using Excel, Numbers, LibreOffice, or Excel Online.
- Adjust and read a wage graph.
- Identify why the number of years averaged in a graph matter.
- Identify the overall wheat price trend in England between 1264 and 1400.
- Read a spreadsheet by using tabs.
- Answer questions about the past by interpreting data.

Let’s tackle that one word at a time, backwards. Statistics matter because we use numbers to measure our lives, whether it’s the dollars in our bank account, the number of friends we have on facebook, or how full a glass is (half full?) Increasingly, statistics are used to convince us in the truth of an argument. Yet, without a basic understanding of statistics, people often fall back into the cynicism that all numbers lie. Numbers are just information, and just as we apply the PISA test to sources, so too can we apply certain standards for what is a credible statistic.

Why do statistics matter to *history? *Numbers show us trends, that is up or down, in parts of our lives that are important. How much food, per person, does one society provide over time? How is income distributed to a people, mostly to the rulers, or does every group have a sizable chunk? As well, numbers let us compare groups that are fare apart from each other in geographic or temporal terms. Did the Han Chinese of 100 CE have greater economic output than the Holy Roman Empire in Europe of 1000 CE? Statistics matter because we can see trends (changes over time) and comparisons.

To start, let’s deal with a simple concept: an average. There are three types of averages, the mean, median, and model.

For a text definition of these terms, see http://www.mun.ca/educ/ed4361/virtual_academy/campus_a/losinskim/mean,median,mode.html

For video explanation, see https://www.khanacademy.org/math/probability/data-distributions-a1/summarizing-center-distributions/v/mean-median-and-mode

**Questions:** Let’s say a large village had 25 people die in a single year. Below is the age of each deceased villager.

- Average the following ages: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 5, 6, 9, 18, 18, 35, 45, 58, 72, 73, 75, 78, 88, 92, 107, 110. (25 numbers).
- What is the mean age of death in this town?
- What is the median (number in the middle of s string of numbers) age of death for this town?
- What is the mode (most commonly occurring number in string of numbers) age of death for this town?
- If you are 34 years old, are you scared of dying next year? Why or why not?

As a historian, when you see the word “average” you always need to ask if it’s the mean, median, or mode and *is that the most useful average for understanding the past. *

If you’d like more help understanding mean, median, and mode, you can see a video here.

For the next part of the lesson, you need access to a spreadsheet program. You can also use Microsoft Excel or Mac Numbers if those programs are already on you computer. on your computer you’re all set. If you don’t you’ll need to do one of two things:

- Download and install the free office software LibreOffice . This will give you give you a free version of a spreadsheet program.

OR

- Use Excel Online, the free software that’s part of your Normandale email account. You have Microsoft excel in your Office 365 account, which you can log into here (https://login.microsoftonline.com/). First, save the document for this readings called “Historical Statistics for the World Economy, 1–1500 CE” to your free Microsoft OneDrive. The next several slides are to help folks get a spreadsheet program. If you have one, skip down to the Wages part of the lesson.

OR

- Open the spreadsheet in Google docs if you have a google account. (The way to do this is about the same as using Excel online).

Below is what Excel looks like on a Mac.

- You have Microsoft excel in your Office 365 account, which you can log into here (https://login.microsoftonline.com/). Download the files

Once you’ve opened that up, you’ll want to open a file from OneDrive. Your page will look similar, but not exactly like this one.

Download the “Historical Statistics for the World Economy, 1–1500 CE”to your computer and

Upload the file into the OneDrive, so you can open it in Excel Online.

Open a browser and go to Real daily wages in pounds, England, 1260–1994 : http://data.is/1Sh8SLx and Wheat Prices, 1264–1400, in constand 1996 pounds, http://data.is/1k2CYaw

Let’s start with the wages graph. Click on the “Display” tab and make the Time period from 1260–1400.

**Question:**What is the highest daily wage and in what year during the period 1260–1400?