Definition of Stem and Leaf Plot

The official definition of stem and leaf plot is:

A way to graphically represent a data set in ascending order by categorizing the data in which part of the number is shown on the left and called a “Stem” and the last digit is shown on the right and called a “Leaf.”

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

This is probably what your textbook says.

So, What is a Stem and Leaf Plot?

Here’s a better definition of a stem and leaf plot:

It takes a long list of numbers and puts them in order from smallest to largest. Draw a vertical line. Take all but the last digit of each number and list them in order, top to bottom, on the left side of the line. Only write each number once, this creates the stem. Now, take the last digit of each number and put them in order from left to right on the other side of the line. The catch is, you must put the number on the same line as it’s “stem.”

This is more like what your teacher or professor might say. This is more descriptive, but still not good enough.

Here’s OUR definition of stem and leaf plot:

  • Put the numbers in order, from least to greatest
  • Break off the last digit from each number
  • The left digits are the stems, if there is no left digit, use zero. We list these ONCE.
  • Right digits are the leaves, we will list them ALL
  • Graph!


Video Example 


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