What our Basic Statistics lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Basic Statistics provides a comprehensive overview of basic statistics and gives students numerous activities to help solidify their understanding of these concepts. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to define statistics and its relative terms such as mean, median, mode and range; and identify uses for statistics. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the blue box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The supplies you will need for this lesson are scissors, internet access, calculators, and the handouts. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can pair students for the activity, copy the handouts, and gather the supplies.
Options for Lesson
Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. For this lesson, the first few suggestions are related to the lesson activity. You could have students swap their activity worksheets and check each other’s work or use the internet to find additional data that can be used for the activity.
An optional addition to this lesson would be to have students create additional mnemonic devices to remember mean, median, and mode. You can also provide the class with more examples of when people have manipulated data or used it ambiguously to highlight how important it is to use data accurately. For the homework assignment, you could have students create an additional question to research and analyze for additional practice. You could also invite a newsperson, or someone else who reviews data as a part of their job, to speak to your class. Finally, you can use your own set of questions for the lesson opening if you’d like.
The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. It notes that the lesson provides some basic information about statistical terms, and also delves into how you can use and interpret data. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.
BASIC STATISTICS LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
What is Statistics?
The Basic Statistics lesson plan includes two pages of content. The lesson begins with a short list of examples of statistics. One is the common advertisement that states “Three out of four dentists recommend using Brand X toothpaste”. When we use numbers to give information about something, these numbers are the results of statistics. The lesson defines statistics as the science or practice of collecting and analyzing data in large quantities. We can use this data in many different ways, after collecting, analyzing, and interpreting it. Weather forecasts, medical decisions, political campaigns, insurance and other financial decisions, consumer goods, product testing, crime reports, all use statistics. Everyone uses statistics at some point or in some way!
You might be using statistics without even realizing it. One example of this is if you download a new song because you saw that many other people have already downloaded it. Your download becomes a part of the total number of song downloads, which is a statistic. Because you based your decision to download that song on the number of people who already downloaded it, you have analyzed that data (the number of downloads) and interpreted it to mean that the song must be good because so many people have downloaded it. That’s using statistics to make a decision.
In basic statistics, there are a few important terms and numbers. These include the data set, the mean, the median, the mode, and the range. Every set of statistics usually has a mean, median, and range. Some sets also include a mode. The lesson then defines each of these terms. They’re listed in a chart that lists the term, the description of that term, and an example.
A data set includes the actual information that is collected, analyzed, and interpreted using the mean, median, mode, and range. All statistics start with a data set. We usually create data sets using numbers. The example given is a set of ten temperatures.
The mean is the same thing as the average of a set of numbers. To find the mean, you add all of the numbers together and divide by the quantity of numbers. For example, to find the mean of the ten temperatures, you would add them together and divide by ten.
The median is the middle number in a set of data. To find the median, you need to list all of the numbers from smallest to largest and find the middle number. If there are an even number of numbers, you add the two middle numbers together and divide by two to find the median. In the example, you put the temperatures in order and then, because there are ten of them, add the two middle numbers together and divide by two.
The mode is the number in a set of data that appears the most often. If multiple numbers appear the same number of times, you can have multiple modes. If all of the numbers appear the same number of times, there is no mode for that set of data.
The range for a data set is the difference between the highest and lowest numbers. To find the range, you must subtract the lowest number in the set from the highest.
The next section of the lesson delves into why we use statistics. For example, they use statistics every day in the medical field. When people create a new medicine and use it on patients, they collect data like the patient’s weight, age, height, blood pressure, and more. By collecting this data both before and after the use of the medicine, they are able to determine if the medicine worked and what effect it had on the patient. They do this by reviewing the data collected from hundreds or even thousands of patients.
It is also important for students to learn that people can use statistics in a misleading way as well. For example, if you see an ad that says more people like one soda than another, that may mean that it’s a good idea to buy the more popular soda. However, they may be selectively using those statistics. It’s possible that there are four other sodas that people like even more! You can only find this out if you look at the data yourself, which you don’t always have access to.
This is why it’s important to be careful when reading and interpreting statistics. You can find misleading statistics in advertisements, news stories, and in many other places. People can use them to give you the news, information, or opinions. When used correctly, statistics can tell you useful information about trends from the past and allow you to make predictions about the future.
The lesson closes with some tips on how to remember the meaning of mean, median, and mode. All of these terms start with the letter m. You can remember mean by thinking about the fact that it’s the average and takes the longest to solve for, which can make you feel mean. You can remember median because it has the letter d, just like the word middle. Finally, you can remember mode because it begins with the letters mo-, like the word most.
BASIC STATISTICS LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Basic Statistics lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.
DATA SETS ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
Students will work in pairs to complete this activity worksheet. They will begin by cutting apart the numbers on the first sheet and randomly choosing numbers for five data sets. They will also use the internet to find five additional specific data sets, such as the ages of the five oldest living people in the world. Next, they will use these ten data sets (five random, five specific sets found online) to practice finding the mean, median, mode, and range.
Students may work alone for this activity if you’d prefer.
BASIC STATISTICS PRACTICE WORKSHEET
The practice worksheet asks students to complete three short exercises. For the first, they will match terms from a word bank to their definitions. For the second, they will determine if various statements related to statistics are true or false. Finally, for the third, they will complete a chart by filling in the mean, median, more, and range for ten different sets of data.
STATISTICS CHARTS HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
The homework assignment asks students to ask ten people outside of school (such as friends or relatives) for their age, height in inches, weight in pounds, and favorite number. They will record this information in a chart. They’ll then find the mean, median, more, and range for the age, height, weight, and favorite number. Finally, they will write down one conclusion that they can reach using this information.
Worksheet Answer Keys
This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. No answer key is provided for the activity worksheet, as students’ problems and answers will vary. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.