Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Do Objects Vary Very Much?
DescriptionThis activity is a fun way to introduce standard deviation (SD). Students measure the SD of colors in a collection of objects (e.g. candy)
ObjectivesCalculates 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.
Materials-Different colored objects (M & M candy, or similar, works nicely. One pound bag per 30 students) (3 different colors, minimum)
-Basic 5-function calculator
-Numbered 3-5 ounce plastic drink cup (for M & Mís) or appropriate container to hold colored objects. One for each student(n), labelled with a number: 1, 2, 3, . . ., n.
-Activity sheet 1
-Activity sheet 2 (for Extensions)
-Wax paper squares (if objects are edible)
Preparations1. Gather materials for the activity.
2. Fill small numbered cups with objects. If using M & M (or similar) candy, 20-30 pieces each.
3. Total number of objects should be close to each other, but not the same, necessarily. A ďscoopĒ would be fine if using M & Mís.
4. Copy double-sided activity sheet 1, one per student.
5. Copy activity sheet 2 if Extensions are being used.
6. Tear one square of wax paper per student if edible objects are being used.
ProceduresNote: This lesson addresses collection of data and calculating mean and standard deviation, but not determining the most meaningful measure to describe the data.
1. For steps 1-6, students will be working individually. Distribute activity materials (cup of objects (one per student), activity sheet (see Associated Files), calculators) to students working individually. If using candy, students should be instructed NOT to eat the candy until told to.
2. Tell students they will be assessed on recording their data accurately on the activity sheet. Tell students to separate object into collections by color. Use wax paper, if edible. Lead discussion with class for consensus as to which 3 colors will be counted. Other colors may be eaten now.
3. Repeat the procedure for each color of the objects.
4. Tell students they will be assessed on completing their calculations accurately, showing the steps used.
5. Tell students to complete calculations on the activity sheet for one color of the objects.
6. Repeat the procedure for each colorís calculations, completing Part A of the activity sheet.
7. For steps 7-8, students will be working in small groups. Have students gather in small groups (2-4 students) and complete calculations for mean and SD on the activity sheet for their groupís data, completing Part B.
8. Encourage students to compare the calculations on their activity sheet. Allow time for discussion of mean and SD and for feedback. Students may finish eating the candy, if desired.
AssessmentsNote: This lesson addresses collection of data and calculating standard deviation, but not determining the most meaningful measure to describe the data.
Observe the group activity and assess the papers turned in from each group for accuracy and correct steps in their calculations. Since this is a group activity, observe carefully to see which individual students are having difficulty with their calculations. During the class reporting, make sure that all members of the group participate in the discussion of calculated answers.
ExtensionsComparisons of each groupís SD are made with SD of grouped data. The estimated duration of the Extensions is Ĺ day for both traditional and blocked schedules.
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