Those pesky averages
The nice thing about averages is they reduce a lot of numbers down to one. The challenge with averages is they can be calculated in at least three different ways—and the number reported may not represent what people think unless they know to ask if they are looking at the mean, median, mode or some other type of average and why that particular one was chosen.
In this activity, student pairs or trios work to review how to calculate mean, median, and mode for a series of numbers and then explore ways that claims supported by averages can give different impressions about the meaning of a data set based upon selective use.
Standards: CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP3, Grades 6 – 8
Objective: Students work in teams to review how to calculate mean, median, and mode for a series of numbers and then explore ways that claims supported by averages can be reported in ways that give readers a false impression about what the numbers mean.
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