Measures of Center

  • Why do we need a numeric value that represents a "center" of a data set and if we need one, which one should we use. The mean, median, mode are all viable options.
  • Do students understand that a measure of center is a single value used to describe an entire population.

Tall Buildings The first lesson I suggest you look at was written by Todd Lunsford while he was a junior at Ball State University. Todd uses the basic tools of TinkerPlots to answer questions about the Tall Building data set. How many buildings are higher/lower than the mean height? How many buildings are higher/lower than the median height? This activity uses version 1.0 so some of the icons might be different.
Hot Dogs - Todd also wrote a hot dog activity where you will compare the mean and median in parallel dot plots for three different types of hot dogs (meat, beef and poultry). This is a great activity.
Scooters - (Key Curriculum) How do Outliers Affect the Mean and Median? is the formal name, but I call it Scooters.

Mystery Mixer Activity - (Key Curriculum) Introduction to distributions created by random sampling from a population of 500 integers. Mystery Mixers introduces the idea of the center "clump" as students estimate the mean of a sample. The sample size is generated by the student and the hat plot is encouraged as a tool to describe the center clump.
Each of the activities in this module address parts of the CCSS Grade 6 >> Statistics and Probability Standards.