For the next two weeks, we’re going to focus on using numbers in history. You do not need any higher-level math skills to understand these lessons. The following worksheet guides you through some initial introductory exercises. Please answer all questions in complete sentences.

Background

A basic understanding of statistics is fundamental to operating in today’s world. When a news report tells you that eating cheese will increase your risk of death by 25%, will you still eat that sandwich? It depends on what that 25% increase is, as you’ll see. To start, we need to look at a couple of very basic examples of statistics.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this lesson you will be able to:

Demonstrate an understanding mean, median, and mode.

Demonstrate an understanding of linear and logarithmic scales.

Demonstrate an understanding of the Monty Hall statistics problem.

Successfully navigate gapminder.org to analyze historical data.

Accurately answer statistical questions in complete sentences.

Click on “Life expectancy, years” and a pop-up will appear, allowing you to adjust your two measurements.

Please note that you can change the Y axis (the long vertical side - up down) from linear to log.

A linear scale is one that goes up by the same number. 1,2,3,4 or 10,20,30. The scale is based on adding a number.

A log scale is one that increases by a multiplying factor. So 1, 10, 100, 1000, 10,000. The scale is based on multiplication.

Sometimes information is presented using a linear scale. A person’s age on history charts is almost always in a linear scale.

Sometimes information is presented using a log scale, especially when something starts really small but gets really big quickly. For example, with epidemics, the number of deaths starts very small but soon increases dramatically.

Let’s explore these differences.

Select Brazil, the U.S., Nigeria, China, India and the Netherlands on the right hand side.

To select, check the box next to the country (1).

Then, move the “Deselect” slider all the way to the left to fade out the rest of the countries. (2)