Students get their first experience of statistics in this unit, defining a statistical question and investigating the key concepts of measures of center and measures of variability.
Math
Unit 8
6th Grade
In Unit 8, 6th grade students get their first experience of statistics. Students come into 6th grade with some prior knowledge around data representations, such as bar graphs and line plots; however, this is the first time that students ask the question “what is statistics” and “what can it help me solve?” Students begin the unit by first determining what a statistical question is. Then they ask how they can interpret the data that comes from these questions (MP.2). Students learn various ways to represent the data, including frequency tables, histograms, dot plots, box plots, and circle graphs, and they analyze each representation to determine what information and conclusions they can glean from each one (MP.4).
Students will investigate two key concepts that will be important for future studies: measures of center and measures of variability. They’ll look at measures of center to investigate what a “typical” or average response to a question might be; they’ll look at measures of variation to understand how similar or different the data in the set may be or how reliable a measure of center might be. Students investigate all of this within context in order to better understand how statistics can be used to investigate questions and understand more about our world.
In 7th grade, students will continue their study of statistics and investigate multiple data distributions simultaneously. They will also deepen their understanding of sampling and how to use random sampling to draw inferences about populations.
Note: In December 2022, this unit was revised slightly to align more closely to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). The revision involved shifting when the concept of mean absolute deviation (MAD) was introduced from 7th grade to 6th grade. As a result, this unit now includes a new lesson (Lesson 10) where students understand MAD as a measure of variability of a data set. Students continue their work with measures of variability, including MAD, in 7th Grade Math: Unit 7.
Pacing: 16 instructional days (14 lessons, 1 flex day, 1 assessment day)
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The following assessments accompany Unit 8.
Have students complete the PreUnit Assessment and PreUnit Student SelfAssessment before starting the unit. Use the PreUnit Assessment Analysis Guide to identify gaps in foundational understanding and map out a plan for learning acceleration throughout the unit.
Have students complete the MidUnit Assessment after lesson 7.
Use the resources below to assess student understanding of the unit content and action plan for future units.
Model  Example 
tally chart  
frequency table


dot plot  
histogram  
box plot  
circle graph 
box plot
categorical data
circle graph
cluster
distribution
dot plot
fivenumber summary
frequency table
histogram
interquartile range
lower quartile
median
measure of center
mean (average)
mean absolute deviation (MAD)
mode
numerical data
outlier
range
skewed left/right
statistical question
symmetrical
upper quartile
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 8, view our 6th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
To see all the materials needed for this course, view our 6th Grade Course Material Overview.
Topic A: Understanding Statistics & Distributions
Topic B: Measurements of Center & Variability
Topic C: Box Plots & Circle Graphs
Key
Major Cluster
Supporting Cluster
Additional Cluster
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1 — Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP2 — Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP3 — Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP4 — Model with mathematics.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP5 — Use appropriate tools strategically.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP6 — Attend to precision.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP7 — Look for and make use of structure.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP8 — Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
Unit 7
Geometry
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