In this activity students explore the concept of "the mean" as they examine and compare scores for various sports events. First, they look at two baseball teams, and then they will watch a video clip that takes a look at computing the average practice time of two figure skaters.
Average Practice Time QuickTime Video
Part I: Learning Activity
1. Read the following to the students: In statistics we often use the term average, or mean, to describe an athlete's performance. Identify some averages you have encountered in your own sports activities or in watching sports games.
2. Share students responses and ask them how they would define the term "average."
3. Distribute the Handout: Measures of Central Tendency . Note to teacher: The video emphasizes only the procedure for calculating the mean. The handout is designed to emphasize that the mean is the fair share measure of center.
4. Review Handout, and students' responses with the class.
5. Read the following to the students: You will watch a video of figure skaters Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner. They discuss how much they practice on average per day. Record the data for Tai and Randy's practice times for one week.
6. Play the Average Practice Time QuickTime Video and stop it after it shows the practice times from Monday to Friday. Give the students time to calculate the range and the mean.
7. Play the rest of the video clip. Then ask the students to check their answers and discuss their methods.
Part II: Assessment
Assessment: Level A (proficiency): Students practice calculating averages.
Assessment: Level B (above proficiency): Students extend their knowledge of finding averages. They are first asked to compose a set of data with a specified average, and then asked to determine what score they would need to achieve on a final test in order to get a 90 average for a class.