It seems that the first chapter of every statistics class provides a boring explanation of what a variable is, and examples of variables, and operationalizing variables, and quantifying the abstract for the purposes of conducting statistical analyses.
I try to make that boring topic funnier and applicable to real life via this post entitled "Boyfriend doesn't have ebola. Probably." from Allie Brosh, editor of Hyperbole and a Half.
In this posting, she rips apart the good old FACES scale after a trip with her boyfriend to the ER.
Why does she rip apart the FACES scale? Because she does not think that it does an appropriate job of explaining just how painful the pain is when you are in the ER. This leads to her creating a new FACES scale that more appropriately conveys the level of distress one experiences at the ER. See below.
And if you are a proper psychometrician, you know that your Likert-type scale needs anchors. Here are the one's the author created:
Anyway, it is hilarious, she is hilarious.
How to use in class:
-Psychologists turn abstract ideas, like pain, into operationalized variables. See above.
-FACES is important not just in medical situations, but when conducting developmental psychology research.
-Is data collected via this scale nominal or ordinal or interval or ratio?
-You have a variable, a range of potential scores for the variable, and the scale of measurement.
-I teach many students who are studying to be PTs, OTs, PAs, and nurses. Throwing in the occasional medical example helps me reach those guys.
-Many of your students, regardless of major, have probably seen the FACES scale.