Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Exercise Those Statistics!

Kevin Holland
Santa Rosa District Schools


This activity is designed to reinforce the statistical concepts of mean, median, mode, and histograms. Students collect data by measuring their pulse rates through different activities.


Solves real-world and mathematical problems involving estimates of measurements including length, time, weight/mass, temperature, money, perimeter, area, volume, and estimates the effects of measurement errors on calculations.

Interprets data that has been collected, organized, and displayed in charts, tables, plots.

Calculates measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode)and dispersion (range, standard deviation, and varience) for complex sets of data and determines the most meaningful measure to describe the data.


-Worksheet for each student
-Poster board and Markers
-A good introductory video on statistics that discusses basic statistical vocabulary


1. Optional:Obtain a copy of the introductory statistics video.
2. Optional:Obtain VCR/Television for the class period.
3. Copy worksheets for all students.
4. Obtain a stop watch.
5. Introduce students to the concepts of mean, median, mode, and histograms.


Prior Knowledge: Students will have a basic understanding of the statistical terms of mean, median, mode, and histograms to the class.

1. Hook your students with the statement of -Today, we are going to exercise your statistical muscle!-

2. If available, show a video on statistics to refresh or introduce the basic statistical vocabulary that will be used today.

3. Explain to students that statistics are found in all areas of life. Ask students for some examples. (ex: election results, health studies, test scores . . .)

4. Pass out worksheets to students and complete the definitions as a class.

5. Explain how we can have different examples of central tendency: mean, median, or mode. Explain how one measurement will better reflect the data that is collected.

6. Work the histogram problem together. Model good graphing skills such as naming the graph, evenly spaced and marked axis, and neat connected bars.

7. Tell the students: You will now begin collecting student data to analyze for the rest of the worksheet. Students measure their pulses for one minute after 4 different activities. Begin by having students close their eyes and sit still for several minutes. After several minutes have passed, have the students quietly find their pulse point and count their pulses for one minute. Have students write their pulse rates down on the worksheet.

8. Now, have students stand and talk to others around them, but they are not allowed to walk around. After several minutes, have students quietly find their pulse points and count their pulses for one minute. Have students write their pulse rates down on the worksheet.

9. Now, have students walk briskly in place for two or three minutes. After several minutes, have students record their pulse rates and write it down.

10. For the final activity, we want the students to increase their pulse rates further. There are several activities that you can do depending on your teaching situation. The students could jog in place, do jumping jacks, or speed walk around the outside of the school. You just need an activity that will increase their pulse rates. After several minutes of the activity, have students record their pulse rates and write them down.

11. Have students collect at least 20 other studentsí data for the four activities and analyze their data according to the questions on the worksheet.

12. Have the students construct two histograms: one of the resting pulse rate and one of the last activity. You may want to select, as a class, the width of the classes on the histograms.

13. Summarize the activity by discussing which measures describe the data the best. Discuss the differences between the two histograms.

14. As an optional activity, have students, as a group, collect an entire class set of data and display the data on a piece of poster board. Have students present their poster boards in front of the class or display the poster boards around the room.


Observe students' responses to different questions throughout the discussion of the topic. Studentsí work can be graded by numeric value or by the attached rubric assessment. You may also wish to give a group grade for the histogram poster.


Students can plan, conduct, and analyze other experiments that produce data. Students can continue using the data collected to discuss the concepts of dispersion (range, standard deviation, and variance).

Web Links

Web supplement for Exercise Those Statistics!
Using Mean, Median, Mode and Range through Basketball

Web supplement for Exercise Those Statistics!
Introduction to Statistics: mean, Median, and Mode

Web supplement for Exercise Those Statistics!
Measure of Central Tendency: Mean, Median, and Mode

Web supplement for Exercise Those Statistics!
Practice Page for Mean, Median, and Mode

Attached Files

Student worksheet and optional grading rubric.     File Extension: pdf

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