We’ve just plotted some data on school enrollment vs. year (and discussed the meaning of “enrollment” as a number).

Question: “What does the slope represent?”

Response: half-open mouths, half-shrugs, half-smiles, total silence. Their looks say: What are you talking about?

“Ok, try this: What does the slope tell you about the school?

Backs straighten (a bit). Eyes narrow in concentration. Conversation sputters once, twice, then takes off. I sit and listen. After some false starts, a few people put it together, and after another minute they’ve all got it.

They turn to me and now their looks say, Why would you ask us something so easy?

Advertisements