Mean absolute deviation can sound very intimidating. I remember being in a master’s class and we had to find the standard deviation of some data. Most people in the class had no clue what to do. Most 7th grade math teachers have been teaching math since before the Common Core came on the scene, so this makes mean absolute deviation a new topic for many of us. If you’re like me, you get worried when there’s a new topic. You want to teach it right, but you’re not confident with how to teach it. At least, not yet. It’s taken me a bit of time to feel comfortable with it, but this year I had so much fun teaching this concept. Let me show you step by step how I broke down and taught my 7th grade students about mean absolute deviation.
As teachers we want our students to discover things, but we also like to be in control. Sometimes we feel like we don’t have enough time to let students discover. We just want to jump in and give them a list of steps. I believe there is certainly a place for teaching the list of steps, but I have also seen the power of discovery and I can’t go back to the days before I used it. Now, I start every unit with a discovery lesson. Some topics call for more involved discovery activities, like volume of cylinders, cones, and spheres. Other topics are less complex like simple probability. In this post I would like to share the discovery activity I used with my students for simple probability.