Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Not Just an Average Class
Orange County Schools
Students work together to find the median, mode, and mean of their first and last names using a numerical code in this fun, interactive lesson.
The student identifies the mean, median and mode from a set of data.
-Activity sheet: Not Just an Average Class for each student (See attached file.)
-Overhead transparency of activity sheet: Not Just an Average Class
-Blank overhead transparency sheets
1. Make student copies of the activity sheet: Not Just an Average Class for each student. (See attached file.)
2. Make an overhead transparency of the activity sheet: Not Just an Average Class overhead transparency.
3. Prepare blank overhead transparencies for the groups to use.
4. Gather overhead markers (one for each group, plus one for the teacher).
5. Count out one index card for each student.
6. Prepare overhead projector and screen.
7. Prepare overhead calculator.
8. Provide one calculator for each student.
1. Review mean (average), mode (most common number), and median (middle number) with the class. Remind students that finding mean, median, and mode is a part of data analysis, and that we use data analysis to compare information.
2. Discuss different instances when mean is used in daily life: grades, baseball and softball (batting averages, errors), bowling, etc.
3. Explain that as a class we are going to find our class’s mean, median, and mode using our first names.
4. Hand out the activity sheet: Not Just an Average Class and an index card to each student. (See attached file.)
5. Display a transparency of the activity sheet: Not Just An Average Class on the overhead and demonstrate how to find the numerical value assigned for each letter of their first name. Then each number is added to get a sum for their first name. (See attached file.)
6. Students find their individual sums on their activity sheets and write it on their index cards.
7. Circulate around the room to check for students' understanding.
8. Once all students have their “name sum,” they line up in front of the classroom in order from least to greatest.
9. As a class, find the median (the number in the middle) and write it on the overhead activity sheet. Explain that sometimes there is no exact median, and that the two middle numbers must be averaged to get the median.
10. As a class, find the mode (the number most often represented) and write it on the overhead activity sheet. Explain that sometimes there is no mode if only one of each number is used.
11. Review the procedure for finding the mean- ACD. (Add up all the numbers. Count how many numbers there are. Divide the sum by the amount of numbers.)
12. Find the mean using the overhead calculator and write it on the overhead activity sheet.
13. Discuss the data with the students, comparing the mean, median, and mode and how they relate to one another.
14. Divide students up into cooperative groups and explain that they are going to do the same exact thing we did as a class, except they are going to use the last names of the people in their groups. Possible roles for each student: recorder, time keeper, materials manager, presenter, and checker. Feel free to add or to change roles depending upon your class's individual needs. Five students in a group work well to demonstrate the concept of median.
15. Give each group a blank overhead sheet and tell students to complete all their work on the overhead sheet. Explain that when they are done, they will present their data to the class, and they will have to explain the procedures they used to find the mean, median, and mode. Students may use calculators to find the mean.
16. Circulate throughout the room, checking each group’s progress and providing feedback. Question each group about the process of finding mean, median, and mode to check for understanding of the concepts.
17. As groups finish, have them practice presenting and explaining their data and the process that they used.
18. Groups come to the front of the room, display their overhead sheet, and explain the process they used to find the mean, median, and mode.
19. Once all groups have made their presentations, review with the entire class why we use mean, median, and mode. Have students give examples when mean, median, and mode are used in everyday life.
As students work in groups to find the mean, median, and mode for their group’s individual data, teacher provides feedback on their progress. When the assignment is completed, groups present their data to the class and explain the process they used to find mean, median, and mode. Each group will be formatively assessed based on their understanding of the concept of mean, median and mode, and the correctness of their answers. 80% correctness will denote mastery. If mastery is not achieved, supplemental work will be given until mastery is achieved. (See extensions.)
If mastery (80% correct)is not achieved, work with students in small groups reviewing the concepts and procedure for finding mean, median, and mode. Give students sets of numbers to find the mean, median, and mode for that group of data.
1. 10, 20, 30, 25, 20
2. 6, 24, 13, 56, 6, 20
3. 40, 75, 24, 44, 90
4. 72, 38, 100, 77, 85, 38, 54
5. 100, 200, 300, 400, 500
File Extension: pdf