Home Education What’s Going On in This Graph? | March 2, 2022

What’s Going On in This Graph? | March 2, 2022


What nations “won” the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics?

One way to answer this question is by counting how many medals each country won, and then assigning a value to each gold, silver and bronze medal. Norway won whether we value all medals equally or value silver medals higher than bronze ones, and gold medals higher than silver ones. If all medals are valued equally, the United States came in fifth, but if we value silver medals higher than bronze ones, and gold medals higher than silver ones, then the U.S. came in fourth. Which countries “win” varies on how the medals are valued.

The graphs above show only 9 of the 27 countries which won medals. Look closely at the x- and y-axes to help you interpret the graphs.

For example, for these 9 countries, what is the ranking of the countries if silver medals are worth 2x bronze ones, and gold medals are worth 5x silver ones? Answer: Norway, Germany, U.S., China, Russian O.C., Canada, Japan, Australia and Belarus. (The interactive rankings for all combinations of medal weights is shown in the New York Times article. We will release its free link on Friday.)

What do you think is the best method for counting medals? How would you rank nations in the Olympics?

On Wednesday, March 2, we will moderate your responses live online. By Friday morning, March 4, we will provide the “Reveal” — the graphs’ free online link, additional questions, shout outs for student headlines and Stat Nuggets.

1. After looking closely at the map above (or at this full-size image), answer these four questions:

  • What do you notice?

  • What do you wonder?

The questions are intended to build on one another, so try to answer them in order.

2. Next, join the conversation online by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box. (Teachers of students younger than 13 are welcome to post their students’ responses.)

3. Below the response box, there is an option to click on “Email me when my comment is published.” This sends the link to your response which you can share with your teacher.

4. After you have posted, read what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting a comment. Use the “Reply” button to address that student directly.

On Wednesday, March 2, teachers from our collaborator, the American Statistical Association, will facilitate this discussion from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time.

5. By Friday morning, March 4, we will reveal more information about the graph, including a free link to the article that includes this graph, at the bottom of this post. We encourage you to post additional comments based on the article, possibly using statistical terms defined in the Stat Nuggets.

We’ll post more information here on Thursday afternoon. Stay tuned!


See all graphs in this series or collections of 60 of our favorite graphs, 28 graphs that teach about inequality and 24 graphs about climate change.

View our archives that link to all past releases, organized by topic, graph type and Stat Nugget.

Learn more about the notice and wonder teaching strategy from this 5-minute video and how and why other teachers are using this strategy from our on-demand webinar.

Sign up for our free weekly Learning Network newsletter so you never miss a graph. Graphs are always released by the Friday before the Wednesday live-moderation to give teachers time to plan ahead.

Go to the American Statistical Association K-12 website, which includes teacher statistics resources, Census in the Schools student-generated data, professional development opportunities, and more.

Students 13 and older in the United States and the Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.


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