Category Archives: averages

The Wisdom of the Crowd

Look, stats isn’t boring! I love doing these Wisdom of the Crowd exercises when teaching averages. Another way of doing it is to display a random scattering of dots on the screen (about 40 or so). Get everyone individually to provide an estimate then calculate the mean.
A really interesting addition to this is to do it once getting everybody to call out their estimate. Then, before calculating the mean, give everyone the chance to change their estimate and record them all a second time.
This can lead to regression to the mean, and standard deviation if you like.
See – stats isn’t boring!

The World Is Maths

Sir Francis Galton was a statistician in the 19th century. Thanks to him we have concepts such as correlation and standard deviation.  Galton, it would seem, thought through the filter of statistics, a genius who produced hundreds of papers and books on fields as diverse as meteorology, historiometry and psychometrics and who pioneered the use of questionnaires to gather better information for his statistical analyses.

Last week, at my school’s Open Evening, we conducted a mathematical experiment based on one of Galton’s observations.  

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Deeper Questions for Mean, Mode, Median

Some quick questions, Powerpoint here.  You could also ask pupils to draw pictures (e.g. scaled bar models) to represent their examples.

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And then these to from @. Need a really good explanation!


Other questions:

  • What’s the average number of wheels on a vehicle on a motorway?
  • What’s the average number of children a woman (in UK, in India, etc.) has in her life?
  • What’s the average number of arms a human being has?

Or, if you’re feeling brave: