Knowing how geeked out I get about data visualizations, my school's librarian Ms. Eskin (she'll be blogging and tweeting soon!) brought me a present the other day... a book (naturally).
Now, I'm not a huge baseball fan but I like statistics and visuals... of which this book has plenty of both (and I can appreciate good storytelling, too - which this book has, too). But since baseball season is upon us it seemed an appropriate book to talk about. Let's take a look at a few of them that jumped out at me as particularly interesting. (clicky, clicky on them to make them bigger)
Now these are not very complicated visuals (but they are effective), and that is what I like about them. There is no doubt that this type of visual could easily be created by students. Math teachers should have a field day with the amount of historical and current data that is available over at MLB.com. I mean, there is a lot of math and research required to figure out how much money a season's worth of "stolen" bases are worth. Then, you just need to fire up a graphics program or PowerPoint (which is what I would have the kids use) and create a visual.
If you are interested, Craig Robinson has more complicated visuals available too. I love this one... the team in RED won the world series and the position of the other teams (above or below them), indicates the relative payroll. So, you ca see at a glance how impressive the 2003 champion Florida Marlins team was (say compared to the 1996, 1999, 200 or 2009 Yankees). You could show this to students and just ask them what they notice... what inferences could they make...?
Like all great visuals, these visuals provide a depth of understanding and meaning that would be difficult to achieve with just words and numbers. This sort of data would be so hard to communicate without a well-crafted visual.
Many of the book's visuals (but not all of them) can be found on the author's blog. The book is available on Amazon (and probably in book stores too assuming those still exist when you are reading this post). So, if you (or someone you know) like baseball, statistics, or visualizations (or any combination of those)... you might want to check this book out.