Friday, February 24, 2006

More Reason To Teach Graph Reading

DarkSyde at DailyKos' Science Friday has a great post today about how hurricanes form and grow, the connections with global warming, and the absolute uselessness of most media outlets in explaining both.

This goes along with an earlier rant on this blog: the consequences of shifting a distribution when what people are watching is how many events are above a threshold. In the case of Tropical Depressions, Tropical Storms, and Hurricanes (categories 1 through 5), we put all of these phenomena into baskets based on wind speed.

As long as you don't move the goalposts (and who, he asked innocently, in this Administration would do something like that?), then shifting the distribution of storm strength a bit higher on the strength scale will automatically lead to more storms in the higher-strength baskets.

I'm thinking more and more that we should be teaching kids statistics and graphs as early and as often as possible (rather than starting with algebra and geometry[1]). Statistics and graph skills are exceedingly important to understanding the world.

[1] Math curricula may be quite different from when I was in school. YMMV.

No comments: