Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Mind Your Business

Sissy Gandy
Santa Rosa District Schools


This lesson teaches children how to identify the range, median, and mode in a list of numbers by using concrete materials.


The student extends previously learned writing knowledge and skills of the first grade with increasingly complex texts and assignments and tasks.

The student uses concrete materials, pictures, or graphs to display data and identify range, mode, and median.


-Chalkboard or dry erase board
-Dice (7)
-Cards 3x5 (25)
-Counters (16)
-Permanent marker
-Colored markers
-Copy of Website that defines range, median, and mode (See Weblinks)
-Cardstock (10)
-Writing paper for each student


1. Get one copy of Learning packet pages 1 and 2 which gives definitions of range, median, and mode. (See website.)
2. Write these numbers on the 3x5 cards: 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26
3. Write these numbers with a permanent marker on counters: 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 15, 18, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, 34, 35 These will be used to find the median.
4. Write each of these numbers on a piece of cardstock: 5, 7, 7, 10, 12, 14, 16
5. Write words -range,- -median,- and -mode- in colorful letters on top of cardstock. Then write the definition of each word below it so students can refer to it during the small group work.


1. To begin the lesson, tell 5 students to come to the front of the room. As they come up, hand them a card with a number (5, 7, 12, 14, or 16) on it and tell them to stand facing the class in a horizontal line.

2. Call on other students to help place the numbers in order from the lowest to the highest. Children holding the cards move as they are told to do so.

3. Show the word range and define it for students. (This is a math word that means the difference between the highest number and the lowest number.) Ask students: How do we find the difference in two numbers? The answer is subtraction. Point out to the students that the range is found by subtracting the low number from the high number.

4. Ask a student to subtract the numbers you see in the front and tell what the range would be. (Answer is 16-5=11) Write range = 11 on the board. Explain to students that this skill is important to the business world and that companies use these numbers to help them with important decisions to make them money. School administrators use them to detemine if they are doing a good job. It lets them know strong and weak areas so they can improve.

5. Hold up the word median and define it for students. (The median is a math word that means the middle number in a list of numbers arranged from least to greatest.) Explain that they will find the number in the middle of the line and sometimes there could be two medians if there is an even amount of numbers in the line.

6. Ask students to find the median in the line before them and raise their hand. Call on a student to answer. (Answer is 12.) Write median = 12 on the board.

7. Call 2 more students to the front and give them cards (7, 10) to hold. The class helps to decide where they should stand in the line. (The 7 can stand on either side of the other 7 and the 10 goes between 7 and 12.) Hold up the card with mode on it and define it for the students. (The mode is the number that occurs the most.) Explain that this is the number that you see the most of and sometimes there can be more than one.

9. Ask students to find the mode in the line of numbers and then raise their hands. Call on a student to give the answer. (Answer is 7.) Write mode = 7 on the board.

10. Review with students before continuing by letting a student explain to the class how to find the range, median, and mode. (See Weblinks.)

11. Hang the word cards where the class can see them as reminders and have students place the number cards in order on the tray under the board.

12. Instruct students that they are going to divide into three groups. In these groups, they will work together to use dice, cards, or counters, to make a list of numbers. Students arrange numbers from lowest to highest. When they find the mode, median, or range in the list, they should circle that number.

13. Pass out paper to each student. Students write their names and fold papers into fourths. Number each fourth with 1, 2, 3, and 4. Divide the class into three groups. Give these directions to students.

Activity 1: You will use dice to find the mode. Roll the 7 dice, write the numbers on the dice on your paper, circle the mode. Repeat.

Activity 2: You will use the cards. Turn up the first 7 cards for the group to see. Write the numbers in order on the paper under section 2 and circle the median. Repeat.

Activity 3: You will use counters. Choose 5 counters, arrange them from lowest to highest. Write the numbers on your paper. Subtract to find the range. Repeat.

14. Rotate the groups to each activity after 5 to 7 minutes. (Timer may be used.)

15. Have students get their papers and return to their seats. Instruct students to find section 4 on their papers. Tell students to write 3 sentences telling what a range, median, and mode are in math.


Students particpate in a small group to manipulate counters, cards, or dice to order 5 - 7 numbers from lowest to highest. They find the range, median, or mode in the list by circling the correct number asked for.

Criteria: Observe the participation of students in the small groups to determine order of numbers and find the range, mode, or median. Students complete a written assignment along with the manipulation activities to demonstrate their knowledge of mode, median, and range which the teacher can use to assess.

Students are required to provide a written response that correctly defines what the terms mode, median, and range are in math.

Criteria: Read the students' definitions of range, median, and mode to determine if students can correctly provide a written explanation of what they learned.


The online student lesson lets students practice finding the median. Students can work as partners because it does take reasoning skills to answer the questions.

This lesson will move very quickly. Students are actively involved in the learning process throughout the whole lesson.

You can also have students develop and use picture graphs to extend this lesson. Also, put the manipulatives in a station for those who need additional review and practice.

Web Links

Use this online tutorial for students as a reinforcement or homework assignment.
Dr. Ufigure's Simple Statistics Tutorial

This is an interactive Student Web Lesson that reinforces the concepts in the lesson. Use with the whole class or individual students.
The Party Mode

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