Tips to Helping Your Sixth Grader Find the Mode, Median, and Mean in Their Math Homework

In the sixth grade, determining the mode, median and mean in a number series isn't always a simple task. Read on to learn about how you can help your child better understand what these mathematical terms mean and how to solve problems that include them.

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Helping Your Child with Modes, Medians and Means

What Sixth Graders Learn

The mode, median, and mean of any number series are three common ways to analyze numerical data, and they frequently show up on the SATs and other standardized tests. These may seem like simple math skills, but it can be easy to mix up the terms. Talk to your child's math teacher for more information about sixth grade math concepts and consider getting familiar with the Common Core State Standards to track how well your child is doing.

Teaching about Modes

Teach your child that the mode of a number series is the number that appears most often. For instance, in the following number range, the mode is 2: 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 4, 5, 9. To help your child remember the term 'mode', think of the word 'most'. Mode is useful when looking at a list of numbers that contains many repeating values.

First, give your child a list of numbers that are out of order, like this: 4, 5, 3, 9, 9, 7, 6, 7, 9. Then, ask him or her to put the numbers in order. After the numbers are in order, your child will be able to see which numbers occur more than one time. In our example above, the number list would look like this: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 9, 9, 9. Your child should then be able to identify that the mode is 9.

Teaching about Medians and Means

The median can be remembered by your child as being the middle number. In other words, it is the number that's in the exact middle of a number range. In the previous number range example, the median is 7.

If there are two numbers in the middle, which happens when you have an even amount of numbers listed in a series, the median will be halfway between those numbers. The median can found by adding those two middle numbers together and then dividing the answer by two. Your child will most likely get a number with a decimal. For example, in a list that has 5 and 6 at equal distances from either end, the median would be 5.5.

Show your sixth grader that the mean is the average of all the numbers in a list. To find this, your child must first add all the numbers in the series. Then, have your child divide the answer by the number of items in the list, and the result will be the mean. Here's an example:

3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 7 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 59

59 ÷ 9 = 6.56

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