Beautiful Baby?

Was I a beautiful baby? I’ll let you be the judge by looking at my “baby” photo below. I think at least my Mum thought I was beautiful – that’s good enough for me! Why else would she spit saliva into my hair to make it into a big curl?

Finding this photo got me thinking about the first measurements that are taken of a child. With me and my children, this was done at a baby health centre. At regular intervals, a babies weight and length (height?) were carefully recorded in a small record book. The front cover of mine is pictured below.

With some trepidation, I opened my record book to find my growth rates. Would they be linear or exponential? Would they indicate that I was a healthy growing boy?

Week 0 2 3 4 5
Weight 2977 3374 3714 3941 4252
Week 6 7 8 9 10
Weight 4479 4763 4961 5273 5556
Week 11 12 13 14 15
Weight 5812 6010 6152 6265 6435
Week 17 18 19 21 22
Weight 6804 7201 7428 7739 7853
Week 24 25 26 27 28
Weight 7994 8391 8647 8732 8902
Week 30 32 34 36 38
Weight 9043 9214 9554 9781 10121
Week 40 41 43 44 47
Weight 10092 10121 10149 10092 10121
Week 49 51 52
Weight 10376 10603 10433

To prepare the above table I used this converter to change pounds and ounces to grams (I was 6lb 9oz birth weight). The numbers in the table looked promising – I seemed to have been growing at a steady rate during my first year of life. Then using Excel I produced this line graph:

OH NO! After growing at a fairly constant rate for 38 weeks, my growth had stalled! Was I doomed to become a skinny, stunted, malformed dweeb?
I might show this to my year 9 classes next term, to reinforce the danger of drawing conclusions from a  small sample of data. And finally, as my Mother would have said:
“My preciousssssssssssssssssssssssssssss”  [sorry]
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About webmaths

I have been teaching Mathematics in Victorian secondary schools for 30 years. I use the www to make my maths lessons better. I hope this blog will give other teachers some ideas to try in their own classes.
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One Response to Beautiful Baby?

  1. Mathspig says:

    OMIGOD!!! What a beautiful baby you were. The growth stats are interesting. The big mistake doctors make when they use growth charts or standardised percentiles is to assume they apply to an individual. They do not. Growth charts or any statistics for that matter only apply to the group.

    Meanwhile I think that hairstyle is ready for a comeback. Just a thought. Cheers. Mathspig

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