Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Smallest to Tallest  Where is the Middle?
T. Sundeen Orange County Schools
Description
Learners find the mean, median, and mode for the height of the students in their class. Students use the data to determine the most appropriate measure of central tendency for the class.
Objectives
The student finds the mean, median, and mode of a set of data using raw data, tables, charts, or graphs.
The student determines appropriate measures of central tendency for a given situation or set of data.
Materials
Meter sticks
Writing materials
Overhead projector
Transparency markers
Measures of Central Tendency Group Chart (See Associated File)
Transparency of Measures of Central Tendency Class Chart (See Associated File)
Preparations
1. Prepare enough copies of the Measures of Central Tendency Group Chart. (See Associated File)
2. Copy the Measures of Central Tendency Class Chart onto a transparency. (See Associated File)
3. Gather enough meter sticks to accommodate each group.
Procedures
1. Review concepts of mean, median, and mode and provide examples of each calculation.
2. Model the procedure of measuring to the nearest centimeter using the meter sticks.
3. Separate students into small groups (4 or fewer).
4. Have students measure the height of each student in the group using the procedure modeled by the teacher.
5. The results of each measurement is recorded on the Measures of Central Tendency Group Chart. (See Associated File)
6. The students then use the data collected from their group members to calculate the mean, median, and mode for the group.
7. The groups then reassemble as a class.
8. Each group posts their calculated means, medians, and modes on the Measures of Central Tendency Class Chart (See Associated File) which is on the overhead projector.
9. Instruct the students to calculate the mean, median, and mode for the entire class and to compare answers with a student sitting nearby.
10. Have the class discuss and agree on the correct mean, median, and mode for the classroom data.
11. To help the students discover the most accurate measure of central tendency, the class then lines up from smallest to tallest.
12. Guide the class in determining which measure of central tendency is most appropriate and accurate for the class data by helping them determine who the students are that are in the middle of the lineup. Their heights are compared to the class chart to find out if their calculations match the heights of the center students and which most closely matches the actual heights.
13. The learners then return to their seats and the teacher reviews the lesson with them.
14. A reflection of the activity is to be written by each student. The reflection should include a short justification of which measure of central tendency would be most appropriate for this exercise.
Assessments
The formative assessments include finding the mean, median, and mode for the sets of data and charting the results. In addition, students determine the appropriate measure of central tendency for the class data. Students may also be informally observed in their groups for their ability to cooperate and participate.
Extensions
1. Social Studies Connection: Students can research the heights of humans in a given time period such as ancient Greece or Medieval Europe. Their research can be compared to the results obtained by the class. Students may then predict how tall humans might be 500 years from today. Learners can also form theories about why the average height of humans has changed over the centuries.
2. Accommodations for ESE, ESL, and ESOL students can include providing additional time, peer tutoring, and guided notes or instructions.
