Favorite Data Sets

Change to a brief table of the data sets.

Here are some of the data sets we use in our CPTA classes at the North Carolina School of Science and Math. Many of them are in the textbook; others are from world almanacs, journals, or web sites. Please share your data sets with us. Send them to and we'll add them to this list.

  Airplanes: Number of seats, speed, flight length, fuel consumption, and operating cost are given for 17 different airplanes that fly in the U.S. Many pairs of variables have a linear relationship; some do not.
Topic: strong and loose associations, linear vs. curved relationships
Source: 1992 World Almanac and Book of Facts Pharos Books, 1991, New York, NY, pg. 670.
1987-88 Chicago Bulls Basketball
1993-94 Chicago Bulls Basketball: This data set lists the total number of minutes played and total number of points scored for each player on the team.
Topic: outliers, comparing the median-median line to the least-squares line.
Source: 1989 World Almanac and 1995 World Almanac.
Charitable Contributions: This data set gives the amount of money contributed each year to charitable causes by individuals in the United States. The years from from 1985 through 1995 are included.
Topic: curve fitting
Source: 1997 World Almanac and Book of Facts, p. 713

Dog Food: The recommended serving size for dog food depends on the weight of the dog.
Topic: curve fitting
Source: Alpo dog food bag

Gestation Period and Average Longevity: There is a loose positive relationship, with at least one outlier. Average longevity is for animals in captivity.
Topic: outliers, loose associations
Source: 1997 World Almanac and Book of Facts, p. 231

High School Budget
Topic: curve fitting
Source: Lakeville Journal, May 9, 1991

Median Cost of Houses: Data is from 1980 through 1994, for existing one-family houses only.
Topic: curve fitting
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States : 1995 (115th edition), Washington, D.C., 1995

Light Intensity: A probe that measures ligth intensity was aimed at a light source in a dark room. The light intensity was measured at specific distances from the probe.
Topic: curve fitting
Source: Collected by a precalculus class at NCSSM using a CBL and a calculator.

Minimum Wage: This data set describes the Federal Minimum Hourly Wage rates between 1950 and 1997.
Topic: curve fitting
Source: 1997 World Almanac and Book of Facts, p. 170

Monkey Tricks: Some handicapped people have access to trained monkey helpers that can perform household tasks like switching things on and off. This data set gives the number of tasks each of nine monkeys can perform along with the number of years the monkeys have been working with handicapped people.
Topic: calculating the median-median line by hand
Source: Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, Volume 28, No. 2; Spring 1991; pp. 91--96.

Postal Rates: The cost of mailing a first class letter, from 1971 through 1995.
Topic: curve fitting
Source: U.S. Post Office

Radioactive Decay
Topic: curve fitting, exponential decay
Source: Collected in 1995 by Dot Doyle and John Kolena, teachers at NCSSM.

SAT Score and Percentage of Students taking the SAT: 1996 data is given for each state.
Topic: associations
Source:1997 World Almanac and Book of Facts

Skid Length: The Highway Department uses a formula to determine how fast a car in an accident was traveling based on the length of a skid. This data was collected under controlled conditions (surface, weather).
Topic: curve fitting

Sleep: The number of hours of sleep needed for each age group includes both naps and nighttime sleep.
Topic: curve fitting
Source: The Los Angeles Times


Triangles: A group of students collected data relating the length of the side of an equilateral triangle with the area of the triangle. The data was collected by drawing triangles on graph paper. The students counted the squares on the graph paper to estimate area.
Topic: curve fitting
Source: Data Analysis National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1988, p. 89.

Average Weekly Earnings of Workers in Production: The data refers to private-industry production workers in mining and manufacturing; construction workers in construction; and nonsupervisory workers in transportation and public utilities; wholesale and retail trade; finance, insurance, and real estate; and services. The figures given are annual averages for weekly earnings.
Topic: curve fitting
Source: 1997 World Almanac and Book of Facts, p. 171

Women's 100 Meter Freestyle: This data set gives the fastest time in seconds for women's 100 meter freestyle during the summer olympics from 1912 through 1996.
Topic: curve fitting
Source: 1997 World Almanac and Book of Facts, p. 860


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