Kaspar Staub next to two models.

Living Statistics Online Tool

Website teaches statistical methods using height

Height is a perfect way of bringing statistics to life and explaining them in a tangible way, says Kaspar Staub from the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine. If height data from a sufficiently large group are plotted on a frequency diagram, you get a Gaussian bell curve. At the same time, our height is a fascinating biological characteristic, which we track with interest from a very young age. And once we’re grown up, our height is an important attribute on our identity documents. Thanks to the Teaching Fund, Kaspar Staub and his team developed a website that imparts statistical facts on height in a participatory way. The basic experiment involves a group of students or a class entering their own height data. The online tool then calculates various statistical values – such as the mean and standard deviation – and plots them on charts. Users can switch between different display formats and learn basic statistical concepts in a fun way. Background information allows users to explore the concepts in more depth. The online version of the height tool has been online since the Spring Semester, and has been a resounding success according to Staub. Students and teachers from various universities are already actively using the tool. At the same time, every time the tool is used, new data are added to the database, which provides scientists with further insights into the topic.