Clips for Class


Frequency Distributions

Some Data From Important Things With Demetri Martin

In this video, comedian Demetri Martin charts some interesting if unscientific statistics. What kind of graph does he use to illustrate his hypothesis?

Statistics Inspired By Pop Songs

This is a slide show created to visualize statistics in popular music. What kind of graphs and charts are used? Are the types used the most appropriate to convey the information collected?

Gaussian Probability Distribution Curve Demonstration

This exhibit from the New York Hall of Science demonstrates the creation of a bell curve. How would you expect the bottom compartment to look once all of the spheres have fallen? What is the dataв being collected here? Why do the falling spheres create a bell curve? How would you design an exhibit that would create a different kind of curve?

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as Seen Through Data

This video shows Stephen Malinowski playing the first movement of Beethovens Moonlight Sonata. The sheet music scrolls by at the bottom, and a bar graph scrolls across the top. The colors indicate the “pitch class” of the notes; that is, every C# is a certain color (blue), every E is a certain color (olive green), etc. The piece is in the key of C# minor, so there’s lots of blue and green, especially at the beginning and end. What data is this bar graph reflecting? Can you think of a different way to represent this data?


This is a video of a machine that measures web activity and adjusts accordingly, creating a bar graph with the data. What other computer activities could this machine be used to measure? What advantages does the Wable offer over plotting a graph by hand?


Independent and Dependent Variables

This video explains the difference between independent and dependent variables using the example of the length of your hair based on how many days it has been since you got a hair cut. What other common task could you make into a dependency relationship?

Social Psychology Experiment

This student-created project is a short cartoon in which one character administers an experiment in which participants write their response. In this experiment, what is the independent variable? What is the dependent variable? Did you notice any potential extraneous variables in the second condition? What were they?

Nominal Variables Video

This video explains nominal variables. How do these differ from ordinal variables?

Other Important Statistical Concepts

Oops I Picked the Wrong Test

This video from the singer Britney Spearmen, sings about the importance of picking the correct test. Why is it important to pick the correct test in order to properly understand the data? When would you choose an independent-measure or single sample design? When would you choose a repeated-measures or matched samples design?

Skew: How to Memorize Negative and Positively Skewed Distributions

In this short clip of a fake newscast, we are given ways to memorize the difference between negative and positively skewed distributions. Can you come up with other mnemonic devices to help you remember statistical terms? Try coming up with one to remember the difference between nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio scales.

Sesame Street: Neil Patrick Harris has Tellys New Shoes

In this brief song, characters sing and dance about shoes. Is the list of shoes given a nominal scale, ordinal scale, interval scale, or ratio scale? What kind of descriptions of shoes could be given to change it to a different kind of scale?

Z-Scores Explained

This brief video describes what a Z-score is, and how it relates to a bell curve. What does the Z-score measure?


The headless professor defines correlation and practical aspects, such as the direction and magnitude of relationships. What is a positive correlation? A negative correlation? Which is a stronger correlation: -.68, .42, or .09? What does a +1.0, 0, and a -1.0 correlation indicate?

Statistical Significance

The headless professor continues from the previous lesson on correlation. He begins with identifying the four possible relationships that could explain an association between variables. Probability values are covered and how to interpret them. What are the four relationships that can explain an association between variables? What is the null hypothesis and why is it important? How is interpreting a probability value different from interpreting the strength of a correlation?

People and Statistics

John Tukey

This clip is the beginning of an student project for an AP Statistics class. The students who made the film admit that they fictionalized some of the events of his life. Tukey is famous for saying that he would rather have an approximate answer to right question that an exact answer to the wrong question. As a statistician, why would he say this? Do you agree with him?

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale was sent to Turkey by the British government during the Crimean War. She was intensely disturbed by the lack of sanitary conditions, and fought for years to improve the quality of care. One of her biggest weapons in the battle was statistics“ she collected data with which she was able to show that many more soldiers died from illnesses contracted due to poor sanitation than from enemy fire. Why were statistics so imperative to making her argument convincing?

Statistician for the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

Fred Hazelton, Statistician for the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World discusses his work with the guide and with on an Ottawa TV Morning Show. While he doesnt discuss his specific methods, he does discuss the fact that he needs to use statistics because there are an infinite number of choices for your path through the park. What sort of tests might you use if you were in his position?

The Gauss Story: A Holiday Tradition

This clip presents some general information about Carl Friedrich Gauss, who was instrumental in defining and understanding the normal distribution. In fact, the normal distribution is often referred to as the Gaussian distribution. What is the normal distribution? How is it mathematically defined?

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