By Kathrine Frey Frøslie, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
An orange peeling contest is a nice and juicy trick to use when teaching different data types and corresponding descriptive statistics at introductory level.
Start by telling them about James Lind and the world’s first randomized, controlled trial, before all students guess the number of wedges in a general orange, its weight, and the peeling time. Then, every student gets an orange, weighs it, you conduct a speed peeling contest, and count the number of wedges.
Summarise the data by descriptive statistics of discrete and continuous data, and discuss the correct choices of descriptives. Further discussions depend on the age of the students. Some possible questions include “When are data discrete or continuous?” “When should we use mean (and SD) or median (and quartiles)?”, and “What happens with the summary measures if each student peeled several oranges?”
Feedback from participants from the age of seven years have been constantly positive.