Rollercoasters, Personal Pies and Data

housing ups and downs

U.S. Housing Prices

The first example is an animated roller coaster ride of US home costs adjusted for inflation. It’s a pretty dramatic and entertaining way to look at the data (link from Digg). It makes a graph “real” in a way that I’ve never really seen before.

personal pies

Personal Pies

Personal Pies (great title) is even better because it allows your students a lot of flexibility in the product they create and the data couldn’t be any more relevant to them. He’s created pie charts for his life- everything from portion of life with beard to number of states he’s visited (there is one non-school safe “pie” so be warned). This is a perfect project for students dealing with pie charts and percentages. (from Anil Dash)
I think these examples are important because they prove that data (or anything else for that matter) doesn’t have to be boring or presented in boring ways. I try to think about two things when creating project/presentation or anything else-

  1. Is this going to fun and original?
  2. Is this personally relevant to my students?

I guess both those really focus on engagement. It always amazes me how little attention the difference between engagement and silent acquiescence gets.

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