Mean, Mode and Median

Students often learn how to calculate measures of central tendency but do not really understand what they are doing or what information they are looking for. Use context from the area you are working with to discuss the purpose of a statistical measure. With students, establish and use criteria which can be applied to evaluate the validity of the measure being used. This link gives a concise summary of the different averages, when to us them and when not to!.

You could provide examples from science of the same data processed using different measures of average and spread and ask students to apply clear criteria to decide on the most appropriate measure given the context.

The need to be familiar with these different calculations is most likely to likely to occur in the Quantitative Chemistry section, Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Biology as well as in the Forces and Motion section of physics (stopping distances, everyday road transport).