Practical Application: Calculating Mean, Median, Mode & Range

Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Mean, median, mode, and range are all used to help analyze a set of data. They have a wide range of real world applications such as in sewing, sales, and cooking. Practice calculating these values with the following three scenarios.

Central Tendency

The central tendency of a graph gives a central point of a given set of data. It's a way of analyzing the information to see which data points are most common. Knowing how to find this information in the form of the mean, median, mode, and range is important, as they provide good information to help assimilate a set of data.

For example, a teacher might use these measurements to show the students just where the class stands as a whole in their grades. If the majority of students are getting C's and B's, then the teacher can use one of these measurements to try to help the students to do better.

From the lesson How to Calculate Mean, Median, Mode & Range, the mean, median, mode, and range are defined as follows:

  • Mean is an average. It's calculated by adding all the values together and then dividing by the total number of data points.
  • Median is the middle number when all the values are organized from least to greatest.
  • Mode is the number that occurs most often; it is possible to have no mode if no numbers repeat and more than one mode if more values repeat the same number of times.
  • Range is the difference between the smallest and largest values.

Practice calculating the mean, median, mode, and range with the following three scenarios.


Ms. Hanson is sewing a quilt. She has five pieces that are ready to be added to her quilt. The length of the pieces are as follows in inches:

  • 12, 6, 18, 6, 12

Find the mean, median, mode, and range.

Calculating the mean: (12 + 6 + 18 + 6 + 12) / 5

The median is found by reorganizing: 6, 6, 12, 12, 18. The mean is the middle term.

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