How many people live in a Canadian household? – Teachers notes

Downloadable versions of this activity are available in the following formats:

Teacher’s notes

ImageHave your students use a computer spreadsheet to do the calculations for this activity.

Other activities:

  1. Have your students debate which is the best measure—mean, median or mode.
  2. Discuss with your students limitations of sample sizes and data collection.
  3. Ask your students what can be said about each of the measures of central tendency in a normal distribution.
  4. Have your students write a newspaper article on the size of Canadian households.
  5. Discuss with your students possible biases in the term ‘Canadian household.’

Possible responses for Question 2:

Measure Advantages Disadvantages
Mean – gives an overall description of the data 

– isn’t affected by sample size as much as the other measures of central tendency

– does not provide any information regarding the distribution of the data or frequency of responses
Median – tells you what the halfway point is in the data (you know that half of the data is larger than this value and half is smaller) – does not give any information about how much larger or smaller the values are on either side of the median, the frequency of responses or the difference between them
Mode – tells you what the most common response is – in a small sample size, this measure can be misleading 

– does not provide any information about the distribution of the data

Curriculum outcomes

  • determine, from a set of data, the mean, range, median and mode
  • recognize that the data collected are affected by sample size
  • determine and use the most appropriate measure of central tendency in a given context .
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