Saturday, January 23, 2016

Cup Stacking - Mean, Median, Mode, & Range

Hi ya'll! Sorry I have been a little M.I.A. lately, the craziness of the beginning of the second semester has hit me full on. For those who teach 5th grade in elementary school probably can relate to the craziness that is getting the kids ready for their big transition to middle school. The class scheduling, the testing, the music tryouts, the school visits, oh ya, and my kids who are scared out of their minds for middle school. That just might be the definition of craziness. Insert my therapist hat, one of the many we wear as teachers. 

Anyway, back to the purpose of this post! Mean, median, mode, and range can be tricky concepts for 5th graders to grasp. We have been working on it this past week. I couldn't give them any more of the practice problems with reading graphs, we needed to do something that required my kids to be doing something. Insert, cup stacking. 

The purpose of this activity was for students to generate their own data to then find the mean, median, mode, and range. It started with breaking my kids up into 6 groups. Each group was given 50 cups (Target brand cups were 5% off with the Cartwheel app, just an FYI). They were given 5 minutes to practice and decide how they were going to build their tower. The conversations they had were very in depth and some groups had some well thought out strategies. 

Then the fun began, they had 1 minute to build a tower with as many cups as possible. I gave them no restrictions and amazingly they all went for the triangular tower. Some more successful than others. 

When the minute was over, they each counted how many cups they used and I recorded that data on the board. The students were responsible for finding the mean, median, mode, and range of our class data. Shockingly, they went silent and got to work analyzing the data. This made my teacher heart smile.

When they were done we did round 2, the only difference to round 2 from round 1 was the time limit changed. Round 2 only gave the groups 30 seconds to build their towers. Feel the pressure! We repeated the process with me recording the number of cups used and the students finding the 3Ms and  R. By the end of the second round, some ended up like this...

The teamwork the students used during the was amazing. They were talking out their strategies and genuinely listening to what each other had to say! The math was important and the point of this lesson, but it was amazing to watch them work together!

I made up a simple recording sheet for 2 rounds of cup stacking. You can get this freebie HERE!

This was a HUGE success in my class! I hope it works for you! Below is another resource I have for practicing mean, median, mode, and range over in my TPT store. Check it out here!

Happy data analyzing! :)


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