Refugee data

At an assembly in the fall at Washington International School had a guest speaker from the organization Free Syria speak to our students about the current crisis. She gave the students more of a background the crisis and referenced data on the amount of refugees. This inspired me to do some research and to encourage a student to do a mathematical paper on the topic.

I looked for the data on the amount of Syrian refugees leaving as well as the amount of refugees that other countries have historically accepted and registered. I found raw data from the World Bank on countries from 1990 to 2014. (If you have not looked at the World Bank’s data, I highly recommend seeing what they have based on topics). In my spare time, I have been sorting the data and looking for trends, as any math teacher would do. Recently I sorted the countries by income level based on the World Bank’s definition and already stated in the data sheet. The graphs of the totals since 1990 of the countries based on income is displayed in the following graph using Excel. Screenshot 2015-11-29 11.35.33

I find it rather surprising that the High Income countries admit fewer refugees than most other countries. When looking at the data of the High Income countries closer, Quartile 1 and median are relatively close.

Screenshot 2015-11-29 11.57.48.png

I made another graph of individual High Income countries: USA, France, Germany, Canada, Sweden, and UK. Screenshot 2015-11-29 11.51.29

With the exception of Germany, most of the graphs gradually increase or decrease. When looking at the graphs of the 5 statistical measures, we can see that Germany’s data influences the standard deviation. For the graph of the USA there is an interesting spike in 2006. What explains that spike in USA’s policy?

I am going to continue to run different statistics in preparation for my grade 9 statistics unit. I am curious what is happening with the Low & Middle Income countries that allows them to admit more refugees.

Normally distributed Groceries


Recently when looking up a grocery store on my phone on google maps I noticed the following graph on popular times.

Screenshot 2015-11-09 11.23.22

Google provides data/predictions for customers about when people typically visit the specific store. I am not sure how the data is collected, so if any one knows please share.

I used these graphs in a statistics lesson after I had introduced normal distributions. We talked about who this information is important to and estimated the standard deviation on a curve that looked normal. We discussed the missing information on the y-axis as well as how a store opened 24 hours would have a different standard deviation and possible shape to the graph. Then we looked at the rest of the week.

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The students were able to recognize patterns in the specific store and relate it to human behaviors in the work week, we estimated the mean for each graph. We also discussed other locations through Washington, DC and if they would have the same types of distributions. Would stores downtown have a different distribution from stores in the suburbs? Will all types of stores have a similar distribution based on location or is it more based on the type of store (for example, grocery, hardware, clothing).

It would be interesting to see how Thanksgiving preparation will affect the graphs.

“That’s so cool!!”

When I was visiting friends in NYC for Halloween weekend I made a trip to the Museum of Mathematics, or MoMath. I went with two former colleagues, a physics teacher and history teacher. We began our visit to the interactive museum on the floor zero, ground floor. There is a stool  inside a circle of strings attached to the ceiling. Once you sit down you spin the stool to activate the strings creating a hyperbolid around you.

Then onto the bikes!Inspired first by G. B. Robison in 1960 who came up with the flat tire bike. Macalester College’s Math professor Stan Wagon made a flat tire tricycle to ride on a straight track with a catenaries. MoMath has a similar type of circular track with two sizes of tricycles. Of course I had to try! It is amazingly smooth ride with three different sized tires. Wolfram has a simulator of the different types of tires and planes to use.

Amanda Riske riding the square tire tricycle

We played video game that would graph your velocity and acceleration on the running track. On floor -1 we were greeted by a wall of magnetic tangrams. We made designs and completed Escher like tessellations. There were logic puzzles, an interactive light board to walk on, and spinning tops to sit on. All of the exhibits were not so much about the history of math but the play in math. Two hours flew by! I had a wonderful time, and loved hearing other people in the museum exclaiming “That’s so cool?” If you are in NYC or planning a visit soon, I highly recommend stopping at MoMath.