Maths Resource of the Week 40

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Averages

  • This resource is far better than average…
  • What is it? - Averages can often be a difficult topic to teach. Once students have mastered the basics of the mean, median and mode it can be tricky to reach the next level of understanding, which is to consider why we may choose one type of average over another. This lovely interactive Excel worksheet may be just the answer. With a few simple clicks you and your students can create a set of data, add to it, and then predict and observe what effect the extra pieces of data have on the three types of averages and the range. This can lead nicely into a discussion about the effect outliers have on the mean, and the type of data that cause the mode to be unrepresentative. And if that wasn’t good enough, the resource also comes with lots of good lesson ideas for bringing averages to life.
  • How could it be used? - I downloaded this resource about a year ago, and I recently returned to it for one of my lessons earlier this term. My class are very able, and when it comes to the topic of averages they certainly know the definitions of mean, mode and median very well. But when it came to the appropriateness of each measure of average, they were a little clueless. We talked in terms of the number of homeworks missed in a class. I set it up so ten students had missed 1 homework and one student had missed 9 homeworks. We talked about what answer made sense for the “average number of homeworks missed”. Then I challenged them to come up with different scenarios where the each of the three measures of average was most appropriate. The Excel file proved the perfect vehicle for facilitating this discussion, and help shed light on what can be a pretty tricky topic.
  • How have you used this resource? - Please share your ideas below.
  • Uploaded by msharman

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