A data Processing Lesson for Statistics about aids: Reading a Table or Chart By Larry Shirley Objectives

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A Data Processing Lesson for Statistics about AIDS:

Reading a Table or Chart

By Larry Shirley

Students will be able to:

1. Recognize structure and key parts of a table

2. Extract meaningful data from a table

3. Use tabular data to make comparisons and draw conclusions

4. Describe the scope of the HIV/AIDS plague
Table on the second slide of http://www.unaids.org/bangkok2004/epi_graphics.html

(The entire set of eleven slides provides a good summary of the numbers of HIV/AIDS on a worldwide scale; other good graphs related to HIV/AIDS statistics can be drawn from a “Google-search” using “HIV/AIDS statistics”, “HIV/AIDS tables”, and other similar search keywords; the suggested table is shown at the end of this lesson plan.)

1. Probably the class has studied some forms of tables or graphs earlier, but it is likely they were “made-up” charts from a textbook. Encourage discussion of the value of using charts, emphasizing their compact, efficient way of showing much data and allowing quick comparison from among rows or columns. Suggest the difficulties of understanding the data from trying to read the information in paragraph form.
2. With the class, look at the suggested table (or another similar table). Here are some questions to consider (The questions start with more technical concerns and move to issues of interpretation.) (If you are using a different table, some of the question may need to be modified.)
a. What is the overall topic of the table?

b. What are the categories of information across the top?

What does each column mean?

How was the third column of data calculated? What does the asterisk * refer to? Using population data, can students make a rough confirmation of the Column 3 data?

How do the different columns relate to each other?

Is there any significance to the sequential order of the categories/subcategories?

When were these data reported? What changes do you expect since the data were gathered?

c. What are the items of the horizontal list down the left side of the table?

Is there any special grouping or sequencing in this list?

If the list is by geographical areas, can you pick out specific areas, groups of

nations, regions, or other groupings? Can you find them on a map?

d. In the data, can you find the very high and/or very low values?

What is the significance of these extreme values?

Is there a pattern of the low/medium/high values?
e. Can you draw a meaningful graph or chart from the data?

What kind of chart is most appropriate?

What kind of chart shows the patterns most dramatically?

Some possible graphs (Note: Some may not apply—but let the students decide; although some may not work with these data, they may be very important

with other tables):

--box-and-whisker: what significance are the high/low/median or range

--bar chart: what comparisons show up?

--dot plot: what correlations pattern can be seen?

--line graph: is there a trend over time?

--circle graph (pie chart): what categories are used?

f. Can you calculate means/medians/modes/standard-deviations/correlations/etc from the data? What do these statistics show? (Note: Since the geographical categories are not numerically related, such statistics are not applicable to this table, but might be useful for other tables.)
g. What factors may affect the data?

Does the data reflect factors that depend on man or nature or both?

Does the data depend on economic factors? educational factors?

Does the data have some “politically incorrect” implications?

Can the data be viewed differently depending on the cultural perspective?

Are there political factors that affect the data?

h. How can the data be used?

If the data is global, can a local connection be made?

Can students brainstorm with the issues related to the data to use them for some purpose?

Is there any action for students to take if they are moved by the data?

Can the data be used to make predictions for the future?

Lesson Plans for WorldView Magazine

Special Issue on HIV/AIDS (Vol. 18, No. 2)
This document contains two lesson plans, one for social studies and one for math, to accompany the WorldView Special Issue on HIV & AIDS (Spring 2005).

A Global Perspective on AIDS – for a social studies class

By Angene Wilson

This two-day or 90-minute block lesson plan is designed to take advantage of the special summer 2005 issue of WorldView magazine which focuses on AIDS. Besides articles by leaders of the global fight against the AIDS pandemic, the magazine includes stories of Peace Corps volunteers and former volunteers now working for NGOs in nations with the highest infection rates in the world and pictures from the book, Broken Landscape: HIV & AIDS in Africa, by Gideon Mendel.

In order to understand the complexity and possibilities for fighting the AIDS pandemic, students will read an article that sets out goals for “an exceptional response” to AIDS and then use the four elements described as they read. Analyze, and report on AIDS in six different countries.


Before teaching this lesson, create a handout which has four quadrants, the left side for the first activity of the first day and the right side for the last activity and assessment of the second day. The top two should have the same sentence to complete – When I think of what can be done about AIDS, I think of. . . The bottom two should have the following sentence to complete: When I think about AIDS and how it affects people, I think of. . .

At the end of the class before this lesson, introduce Dr. Peter Piot, who was a co-discoverer of the Ebola virus in Zaire in 1976 and who pioneered the study of AIDS in Africa. In 1992 he became associate director for AIDS at the World Health Organization and in 1995 the executive director of UNAIDS, joining the efforts of nine UN agencies to fight the pandemic. Then assign his article “Exceptional Threat: The AIDS pandemic demands new thinking now” as homework.
When students enter class ask them to complete the sentence starter on the left side, When I think of what can be done about AIDS, I think of. . . Ask students to share what they have written. Go through the four elements of an “exceptional response” in Piot’s article and talk about how their sentences fit into the four elements: real leadership, expanding human rights, financing, and new methods.
Next ask students to write or draw in order to complete the second sentence starter on the left side, When I think of AIDS and the people it affects, I think of. . . Pass around copies of the pictures in WorldView magazine or the Broken Landscapes book itself as students share what they have written or drawn.

Explain that now students will have a chance to read “on the ground” stories about AIDS and learn more about AIDS and how it affects people in different countries. Point out or have a student point out the six countries on a world map: Burkina Faso, China, India, Namibia, Senegal, and Swaziland. Divide students into six small groups and assign each one a story to read. The stories are: “Movie Night” (Burkina Faso), “Over the Rainbow” (China), “Clarion Call” (India), “Namibia’s Clinics” (Namibia), “Question Success” (Senegal), and “Hlatikulu Journal” (Swaziland). Give each group a worksheet with the four elements of an exceptional response listed and ask group to discuss and a recorder to fill out what in the assigned story fits (or nothing) for each of the elements.

After students have analyzed their article, they should work in the group to prepare a presentation on their country and article. Encourage a variety of styles, such as a drama or a television news report.

As an assessment of learning, ask students to fill in the right side of the When I think worksheet – both questions. Encourage them to be as specific as possible. For instance, students who have read “Clarion Call” might mention the Gates Foundation, and those who have read “Namibia’s Clinics” might mention the role of Peace Corps volunteers and former volunteers. Students who have read “Movie Night” might mention Thiambianco of the Burkina Faso L’Action Sociale, and those who have read “Hlatikulu Journal” might mention Lindiwe and Simphiwe – real people.

© National Peace Corps Association of www.rpcv.org

May be reprinted for classroom use May 2005

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