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Topic: Other Issues for Grades 4 and 5
Replies: 131   Last Post: Oct 25, 2006 7:55 PM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 Nancy Buell Posts: 5 Registered: 12/3/04
Re: The Shape of the Data - Frustrated with
Posted: Jan 27, 2003 4:32 AM

Alice,
How to describe what is 'typical' depends a lot on the distribution of
the data. This is exactly what my students discuss and debate in
looking at different data sets and in comparing data sets. While the
mean is fairly easy to compute, most students don't really understand
what it represents, and it doesn't always describe what is typical of
the data. For example, if Bill Gates walked into a room full of
teachers the mean income would rise dramatically. But would the mean
represent the typical income? Unlikely. In fact no one would have that
income or even approximate it (too high for the teachers and too low
for Bill). On the other hand the median income would remain fairly
stable if Bill came. It would probably represent a more typical income
than the mean. The choice of average to use depends on which best
describes the data. The mode is often useful in describing categorical
data. Again depending on the distribution.
I was surprised that your students guessed the mystery data easily.
Mine usually get the basketball players, but have lots of predictions
for the others.
Nancy

Date Subject Author
11/24/98 wendy
4/21/99 Janice Odom
4/25/99 Mary Beth LaHaye
4/26/99 Wendy Gulley
5/9/99 Nancy B.
5/11/99 Cindy Stogsdill
5/18/99 Sherry Rosenberg
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1/16/04 Laura
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