Measurement and Frogs

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Author: Joanne Caniglia

Grade Level: 4-8


This activity focuses on a measurement activity that incorporates the concept of mean, median, and range using the "Statistics Workshop." This simulated activity is found in the April, 1990 issue of the Arithmetic Teacher. Extensions enable the activity to be carried over to the computer.


Using the story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain (1987), students will:

  1. Simulate a jumping frog contest and measure distances include total distances (line segments) as well as official distances (straight line).

  2. Find the mean, median, and range of the distances.

  3. Make comparisons of the mean, median, and range of the total distances with those of the official distances of the class.

Resources/Materials: Paper clips, cotton balls or packaging material, yardsticks or measuring tape.


  1. Have each student make a frog from cotton or packaging materials.

  2. Demonstrate how to place the frog on a large paper clip that has been "slightly spread out." Demonstrate the jumping procedure as well as recording the distances. Students have three chances to jump their frogs. The longest distances within each group are recorded for the class records. Record distances in centimeters.

  3. Allow students time to practice with their "frogs."

  4. Divide the class into small groups and demonstrate how to set up a track with a starting line and a course for the official distance. (Meter sticks taped to a table seems to work).

  5. Observe and guide students' measurements and frog jumping techniques.

  6. With each group's data, compare the distances. Compare means, medians, and ranges. Find the class mean, mode, and median while at the same time make a box plot of the class jumps (if students are capable).


Twain, Mark, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." In the Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches. New York: C. H. Webb, 1987.

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