Arm Span Day 2

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SWBAT: • Calculate the median, mean, quartiles, and interquartile range of a data set. • Use excel to input, analyze, and display data.

Big Idea

What is the distribution of arm spans for our class? Students use Microsoft Excel to analyze the arm span data for their class.

Do Now

7 minutes

See my Do Now in my Strategy folder that explains my beginning of class routines.

Often, I create do nows that have problems that connect to the task that students will be working on that day.  Today I want students to analyze a graph in order to answer questions. Each edition of Scholastic News  typically includes a graph at the end each edition.

I ask for students to share their thinking.  Students are engaging in MP3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Arm Span

7 minutes

I read over the questions.  Students participate in a Think Pair Share.  I call on students to share out their answers.

 I show students that even though creating a box plot in Microsoft Excel is not ideal, there are websites where you can input the information of a data set and it will generate one for you.  I ask students, “What do you know about the data from this box plot?” and “What is the mean of this data set?” I want students to be able to identify the minimum, maximum, lower quartile, upper quartile, median, and interquartile range by looking at the box plot.  A common mistake is that students think they use these values to calculate the mean.  I want students to recognize that a box plot does not show us all of the values in a data set, therefore we cannot use it to calculate the mean.

Our Class Data

1 minutes


  • Before printing this packet, I type in the class’ data from the previous lesson, Arm Span Day 1.  This way students have an accurate data set to work with.

I show students their data.  I also have them take out their packet from the previous lesson, Arm Span Day 1.  They will use the notes and directions to help them with the remainder of the lesson.


30 minutes


  • Students get into their Heterogeneous Groups of 3-4 students from the previous lesson.
  • This lesson requires laptops.  Depending on the number of laptops you have, you can give one laptop to each group, or you can have each student work on their own laptop.

Students pick up laptops and move into their groups.  Students work on completing the tasks as I walk around and monitor student behavior and progress.  If students are struggling, I remind them to use their notes from the previous lesson.  I take note at the other charts students create using their data. Students are engaging in MP1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, MP5: Use appropriate tools strategically, and MP6: Attend to precision.

If students complete their tasks successfully, they work on the Challenge.

Closure and Homework

5 minutes

I ask students to reflect on their work for the past two lessons.  What did you learn about the arm span of your classmates?  How did you figure that out?  What more do you want to learn about using Microsoft Excel?  Students participate in a Think Pair Share.  I call on students to share their reflections. 

I pass out the Homework.