Unit 3. Information and the Internet
Revision Date: Aug 19, 2016 (Version 2.1)Summary: This lesson is designed for students to review basic statistics, including calculations of the mean, median, mode, and standard deviation. It will also give the students some experience using spreadsheet software to calculate the statistics and to create histograms. Note: This lesson is intended primarily as a review and a reminder of material that should already be familiar to the students. If your students have little familiarity or experience with using Excel to compute statistics or generate plots, you may wish to extend this lesson to two sessions, and provide more scaffolding and instruction on the basic mechanisms.
Outcomes:
Overview:
Source: This lesson was adapted from Unit 2: The Engineering Design Process, Lesson 2: Collecting and Processing Information ©2013 International Technology and Engineering Educators Association Foundations of Technology, Third Edition/ Technology, Engineering, and Design
The students must understand the basic statistical concepts of mean, median, mode, and standard deviation. They must also be able to use spreadsheet software to calculate the statistics and to create histograms.
Students often have some initial difficulty learning how to use formulas in the spreadsheet software to do the calculations.
Student computer usage for this lesson is: required
For Each Student:
Review of Statistics:
Present a review of basic statistics (min, max, mean, median, mode, and range), and use the following board exercise to have the class review their understanding of these basic concepts:
Discussion:
Ask the class to come up with situations where it might be most useful to compute the mean, median, or mode of a set of values. Encourage them to understand that each of these statistics can be useful in different situations, but may be misleading. Have them generate sets of data that would give "misleading values" for mean (if there is an "outlier value"), median (if the values have a longer "tail" on one side than the other), or mode (if there is a frequent value that happens to occur at one end or the other of a wider range).
Note: The teacher may want to do this activity along with the students, displaying the spreadsheet on a screen so that the students may ask questions and see how to do the statistical calculations using the spreadsheet software. Students who do not have much experience with spreadsheets may need more scaffolding and instruction. (If you have many such students, you may wish to spread this lesson out over two class sessions.)
Students will use spreadsheet software, such as Excel, to calculate the average number and standard deviation of candy color in an individualsized bag of M&Ms, Skittles, or other colored candy. Optionally, students may compare their results to other online published statistics for each candy.
Candy Statistics 

Trial Number 
1 
2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
Yellow 
17 
20 
24 
19 
19 
17 
Red 
21 
13 
19 
21 
15 
18 
Blue 
10 
18 
16 
18 
21 
20 
Brown 
7 
12 
5 
12 
12 
14 
Green 
26 
26 
16 
17 
22 
18 
Orange 
24 
16 
20 
15 
15 
16 
Package Total 
105 
105 
100 
102 
104 
103 
The students will also need to create columns further to the right labeled Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation.
Mean 
Median 
Mode 
Standard Deviation 
19.375 
19 
19 
2.199837656 
18.125 
19 
19 
2.799872446 
17 
17.5 
18 
3.338091842 
9.5 
10 
12 
3.380617019 
21.125 
22 
22 
3.833592124 
18.25 
17.5 
16 
3.284161124 
SUM
function.
Yellow Candy σ = 
2.199837656 
Get on 
3Cs 
25.97451297 

2S 
23.77467531 

1s 
21.57483766 

Mean 
19.375 

1s 
17.17516234 

2s 
14.97532469 

3s 
12.77548703 
Students will answer the following question in their journals:
Learners may be paired to assist each other in the use of the spreadsheet software.
The teacher should frequently check the students' work for accuracy as the lesson progresses so that misunderstandings may be quickly resolved.