How Many Single Father Households are in the United States?
While completing this activity, students will estimate the number of single father households in the U.S. by exploring Census Bureau data. They will calculate the mean, median, and mode of a random sample of ten states, evaluate the mean, and analyze the median.
CCSS.Math.Content.7.SP.A.2: Use data from a random sample to draw inferences about a population with an unknown characteristic of interest. Generate multiple samples (or simulated samples) of the same size to gauge the variation in estimates or predictions. For example, estimate the mean word length in a book by randomly sampling words from the book; predict the winner of a school election based on randomly sampled survey data. Gauge how far off the estimate or prediction might be.
Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts the census, which counts every resident in the United States, where they are living on April 1. Data are collected from every residence in the country – that’s more than 130 million addresses! It is a big task, but it is also an important one. The data from the census help us answer questions about where and how people in the United States live.
In this activity, you will use the table to answer the questions listed on the worksheet. Round each value to the nearest whole number.
1. Estimate the mean number of Family Households with Father (no spouse) per state in the United States by calculating the mean of the randomly selected states in the table above.
2. Do you think the mean you calculated is an accurate representation of the mean number of Family Households with Father (no spouse) per state in the United States? Why or why not?
Answers will vary.
3. What is the median of the Family Households with Father (no spouse) in the above data set?
4. What does the median value tell us about the number of Family Households with Father (no spouse) in the United States?
Answers will vary.
5. What is the mode of the Family Households with Father (no spouse) in the above data set?
Estimate the average of a set of numbers by calculating the mean.
Calculate the measures of central tendency for a set of data.
Evaluate the accuracy of the mean of a sample for a given population.
Instructions for Teachers
Before this Activity
If needed, review the following terms and concepts:
Mean – a measure of center in a set of numerical data, computed by adding the values in a list then dividing by the number of values in a list.
Median – a measure of center in a set of numerical data. The median of a list of values is the value appearing at the center of a sorted version of the list – or the mean of the two central values, if the list contains an even number of values.
Mode – The value that occurs most often in a data set. A data set may have more than one mode, or may not have a mode at all.
During this Activity
Monitor students as they work.
After this Activity
Review student’s responses and the major themes of the activity.