Last week my students investigated the concepts of finding the mean, median, mode and range of a set of data using Wii Sports, specifically bowling, on the Nintendo Wii.
We ran the activity as part of a rotation so that everybody could play a game to create their own data. Students recorded their results and the results of other players in their group on a printed score card that I found here.
Before we began the week’s activity rotations, I modeled finding the mean, median, mode and range of a set of data on the whiteboard (not the interactive one, the normal one, so we could keep the information on the board all week). Students referred to the board throughout the week, and this was especially beneficial to the students completing the Wii activity last, as they had forgotten a lot of the details.
The students really enjoyed this topic because they created data that was meaningful to them and applied mathematical processes to it. In the past I have taught this concept using iPod Touches and the Weather app to collect data about temperatures from around the world, but I think that the Wii Sports activity gave students true ownership over their data. They were comparing their results with each other, discussing how and why their means, medians etc were higher/lower and what may have caused it (“I only got two pins that round, I think the batteries in the remote might be going flat”) and one group even found the mean mean of their group’s data.
Some areas I would change for next time I run that activity:
- I would make sure students clearly understand they need to record their score for each individual round, eg 9, 9, 10, 8 etc, as some recorded their cumulative score as it appears in the game and got means of around 79
- I would run the activity as a whole group first, selecting 4 students to create data for 4 tables/groups for the students to work out in teams.
All in all the activity was a great success, with students sharing their learning and mistakes with others so that they may learn from them.