Saturday, June 28, 2014

Frog Flippin' (Measures of Central Tendency)

Aren't they cute?!  I found these the other day at my local dollar store.  I plan to put them to good use this year when we come to the topic of measures of central tendency.

Last year, I did an activity I called "Frog Flippin'".  I have about 10 of the medium size version of these frogs.  I asked the students to flip and measure the frog 10 times, record the data, calculate the mean, median, and mode of their frogs distances.  I then asked them to add 30 cm to their longest jump to create an outlier.  I found, at least in my experiments, the frogs were pretty consistent jumpers and didn't naturally create an outlier, so I made one exist. The students then examined what happened to the data with the outlier in it and we discussed what happened when it was taken out.

Next year, I want to add more data for analysis, even if it will take some more time.  I am still giving  this expansion some thought and tweaking but it is pretty well organized.  To expand the project, I am going to add in additional sizes to the activity.  By posing the question: "Which size frog goes the farthest?", I am hoping to intrigue the students enough that they want to know the answer themselves.

The main idea is that students will collect data for 10 flips for each frog in small groups picked by me.  Students will then need to calculate the mean, median, and mode of the data.  I want to open a discussion about how to pick the best measure of central tendency so that each size frog is represented most positively.  Which measure of central tendency should be used?  Will their chose vary by the size of the frog?

After this, I will ask if anyone is wondering anything about their data or the measures of central tendency.  I am hoping someone will wonder if more data would change the results.  I am also hoping that if there is an outlier, someone will question that as well.  Students will then gather data from their peers and recalculate the measures of central tendency.  Students are asked to make observations about what they are noticing.  Then, we'll examine outliers and the role they play in skewing data.

The original activity and the activity that I have been developing are attached if you are interested!

Original Activity:

3 Sizes Activity:

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