Q&A #689

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Mean, Median, and Mode

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From: julie knapp

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2004092612:58:16
Subject: Re: Mean, Median and Mode idea

I also use the median strip in the road as a description for understanding the term "median". I find it helpful to use a polling of favorite colors to illustrate "mode", instead of numerical data - because the concept of "mode" somehow seems "too easy" (that they just pick out the number found most frequently... if there are two modes, they think they should average the two modes, as they do in finding the median)... but when the data is color choice, it seems to make more sense to the student that you just find the "most popular" result or results (and not try to average two colors;-) In my early examples of "mean" I use examples that show items being poorly (unevenly) distributed, then re-distributed so that each person has an equal amount - such as the number of cookies that each student will get if we distribute the amount evenly among all students. They have no trouble seing that we need to add up how many cookies there are, then divide them by how many students there are. (and sometimes you have to break a few cookies into pieces to make things even :-) -julie

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