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.
In Unit 8, sixth graders get their first experience of statistics. Students come into sixth 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 seventh 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: This course follows the 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, which include the Common Core Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). In the CCSSM, the concept of Mean Absolute Deviation (MAD) is first introduced in sixth grade; however, in the Massachusetts Frameworks, MAD is first introduced in seventh grade. As a result, the concept of mean absolute deviation is not included in our sixth grade curriculum. Please see this note on the standards for suggestions on how to incorporate MAD into our sixth grade curriculum if you are following the CCSSM.
Pacing: 15 instructional days (13 lessons, 1 flex day, 1 assessment day)
For guidance on adjusting the pacing for the 20202021 school year due to school closures, see our 6th Grade Scope and Sequence Recommended Adjustments.
This assessment accompanies Unit 8 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
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Model  Example 
Tally chart  
Frequency table


Dot plot  
Histogram  
Box plot  
Circle graph 
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outlier
distribution
box plot
median
categorical data
interquartile range
circle graph
statistical question
numerical data
frequency table
symmetrical
dot plot
skewed left/right
histogram
measure of center
mean (average)
lower quartile
upper quartile
mode
range
cluster
fivenumber summary
6.SP.A.1
6.SP.B.5.A
Define and identify statistical questions.
6.SP.B.4
6.SP.B.5.A
Describe data that is represented in a dot plot. Represent data using dot plots and frequency tables.
6.SP.B.4
Represent data using histograms.
6.SP.A.2
Describe and analyze the overall shape of dot plots and histograms, including symmetry, skewness, outliers, and clusters.
6.SP.A.2
6.SP.B.5.C
Define and determine the mean of a data set.
6.SP.A.2
6.SP.B.5.C
Define and determine the median of a data set.
6.SP.A.2
Define and determine the mode of a data set.
6.SP.A.2
6.SP.B.5.D
Determine which measure of center best represents a data set. Determine how measures of center change when data is added or removed.
6.SP.A.2
6.SP.B.5.C
Use the range and interquartile range to understand the spread and variability of a data set.
6.SP.A.3
Compare measures of center and measures of spread to describe data sets.
Key: Major Cluster Supporting Cluster Additional Cluster
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