Representing Variability with Mean, Median, Mode, and Range

Mathematical goals

This lesson unit is intended to help you assess how well students are able to:

  • Calculate the mean, median, mode, and range from a frequency chart.
  • Use a frequency chart to describe a possible data set, given information on the mean, median, mode, and range.


This lesson unit is structured in the following way:

  • Before the lesson, students work individually on an assessment task designed to reveal their current understanding and difficulties. You then review their responses and create questions for students to consider when improving their work.
  • After a whole-class introduction, students work in small groups on a collaborative task, matching bar charts with statistical tables.
  • To end the lesson there is a whole-class discussion.
  • In a follow-up lesson, students again work alone on a task similar to the initial assessment task.

Materials required

  • Each student will need a copy of the two assessment tasks: Penalty Shoot-Out and Boy Bands, a mini-whiteboard, a pen, and an eraser.
  • Each small group of students will need Card Set: Bar Charts, Card Set: Statistics Tables (already cut-up), a large sheet of paper, and a glue stick.
  • There is a projector resource to support whole-class discussions.

Time needed

15 minutes before the lesson, a 95-minute lesson (or two shorter lessons), and 15 minutes in a follow-up lesson. Timings given are only approximate. Exact timings will depend on the needs of the class.