Mean. Median. Mode. Do most of us ever use these terms in our day-to-day life? Depending on your line of work, probably not. Do I need to teach this to my grade five class? Absolutely, but I do try to embed this learning into a context that is meaningful and manageable to my students.
Let me begin to explain by saying that my kids are quite passionate about our classroom read-alouds. Really. They race to the school library shelf when I begin a new book to see if there is a school copy they can read along with. They also have very strong opinions about whether they love each book, or don't, as the case may be!
One of the things that has become part of my routine over the years, is using these read-alouds as a venue for collecting and analyzing data. Each time we finish a book, (and if I happen to forget they quickly remind me!) the students give that book a personal "vote" between one and ten to describe how well they enjoyed it. We then use the data collected to calculate the range, mode, median and mean. I create a book poster displaying our results, which is posted on the classroom wall and becomes a sort of benchmark for the other books we read:
Do you have a special way of integrating curriculum into "real-life" contexts?