Stem and Leaf Plots

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Introduction to Stem and Leaf Plots

On this page, we’ll make a Stem and Leaf Plots to display data distributions. In the given examples, you’ll get to know how to organize the data and to use the stem-and-leaf plot concept to obtain answers to interesting questions.


Stem and Leaf Plot Definition

The Stem and Leaf plot is a way of organizing data into a form that makes it easy to see the frequency of different values. In other words, we can say that a Stem and Leaf Plot is a table in which each data value is split into a “stem” and a “leaf.” The “stem” is the left-hand column that has the tens digits. The “leaves” are listed in the right-hand column, showing all the ones digit for each of the tens, the twenties, thirties, and forties.

Remember that Stem and Leaf plots are a pictorial representation of a grouped data, but they can also be called  as a modal representation. Because, by quick visual inspection at the Stem and Leaf plot, we can determine the mode.


Steps for Making Stem-and-Leaf Plots

  • First, determine the smallest and largest number in the data.

  • Identify the stems.

  • Draw a with two columns and name them as “Stem” and “Leaf”.

  • Fill in the leaf data.

  • Remember, a Stem and Leaf plot can have multiple sets of leaves.

Let us understand with an example: 

Consider we have to make a Stem and Leaf plot for the data: 71,  43,  65,  76,  98,  82,  95,  83,  84,  96.

We’ll use the tens digits as the stem values and the ones digits as the leaves. For better understanding, let’s order the list, but this is optional:

43,  65,  71,  76,  82,  83,  84,  95,  96,  98.

Now, let’s draw a table with two columns and mark the left-hand column as “Stem” and right-hand column as “Leaf”.


Stem 

Leaf

4

3

5


6

5

7

1  6 

8

2  3  4

9

5  6  8 


The above is one of the simple cases for Stem and Leaf plots. 

Here, 

Stem "4" Leaf "3" means 43.

Stem "7" Leaf "6" means 76.

Stem "9" Leaf "6" means 96.


What if we Have to Make a Stem and Leaf Plot for Decimals?

If we have a number like 13.4, we will make “13” the Stem and “4” the Leaf. That’s right, the decimal doesn’t matter. Since the decimal will be in place of the vertical line separating the Stem and Leaf, we don’t have to worry about it.


Activity on Stem and Leaf Plot:

Now that you have an idea about stem and leaf plot, can you answer the following questions, considering the data given? Let’s see.


Stem

Leaf

1

4 5 

2

5 7 

3

8 6 

4

9 1 7 4

  1. What are the leaf numbers for stem 3?

  2. What are the data values for stem 3?

  3. What are the data values for stem 0?

  4. List the data values greater than 30.

Solutions: 

1. First, look at the left-hand “Stems” column and locate stem 3. Then we'll look at the corresponding numbers in the right-hand “Leaves” column. The numbers are 8 and 6.

2. Combining the stem value of 3 with the corresponding numbers 8 and 6 in the right-hand ''Leaves'' column, using the information in part (1) of the Question above, we found the following data values for stem 3 are 38 and 36.

3. The row where the stem = 1 gives us leaves = 4 and 5.

Hence, the data values are obtained by combining the stem and the leaves to get 14 and 15.

The data values are 14 and 15.

4. Starting with stem = 3, we have data values of 38 and 36. Moving on to stem 4, we get corresponding data values of 49, 41, 47 and 44. That brings us to the end of the stem-and-leaf plot.

So, the data values greater than 30, according to the list above, are 38, 36, 49, 41, 47 and 44. 


Do You Know?

We can also combine and distribute data for two types of data. They are called as Two sided Stem and Leaf plots, which are also often called back-to-back stem-and-leaf plots. With help of Two sided Stem and Leaf plots, we can determine Range, Median and Mode.

Other Alternatives apart from Stem and Leaf plots to organise and group data are:

  1. Frequency distribution

  2. Histogram

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How do Stem and Leaf Plots Work?

Ans: A stem and leaf is a table used to display data. The 'stem' on the left side displays the first digit or digits. The 'leaf' is on the right side and displays the last digit.

2. What Does Stem and Leaf Plot Mean?

Ans: A Stem and Leaf plot is a way of organizing data values from least to greatest using place value. Typically, the last digit from each data value becomes a "leaf" and the second digit becomes a "stem".

3. What's a Double Stem and Leaf Plot?

Ans: Double Stem and Leaf plots are used to compare two distributions side-by-side. This type of Double Stem and Leaf plot contains three columns, each separated by a vertical line.