Last Thursday, Mrs. Whitehead had the classes work with the Scientific Method to answer the question "How many times can I open and close a clothespin in 30 seconds?".
Today, in math class, we worked with the data gathered in that experiment. We wanted to show the interdisciplinary relationship between math and science (how they go together). So, we found the range, mean, median, and mode of the three experiments performed by each class.
To begin, we opened to page 3 of our journal to review our math poem about Range, and then the different types of averages: Mean, Median, and Mode.
Then we wrote each student's test data for Observation 1 onto our paper. Before we began working with the data, I discussed a new vocabulary word... outlier. I explained that an outlier is a piece of data that is either much too large or too small in comparison with the rest of the data. The outlier is usually discarded so that the results of the data are not skewed.
Using the remaining numbers, we found the range (difference between the largest and smallest), mode (any data that repeats), mean (average), and median (the middle number). We did this with all three observations in each class. Then we found the mean of the three observations to determine the average number of times 5th graders can open and close a clothespin in 30 seconds.
- Johnson's class - 72 times on average
- Dittrich's class - 74 times on average
- Whitehead's class - 77 times on average
I always enjoy working with data, especially when the data works like it did this time! I think the kids enjoyed it too! It is also important for them to know "why" we do things in math. After today, they should understand that we find the range, mean, median, and mode of data collected to have a better understanding of the meaning of the data.