# There are times....

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Chinchilla2, Sep 25, 2011.

1. ### Chinchilla2Chillin' With My Peeps

Jun 9, 2011
Red Rock
when it seems no matter how much you explain something, the person you are explaining to just don't get it.

I just spent two hours trying to explain what mean, median, and mode are when it comes to a group of numbers. Explained in really simple terms... mean is when you add everything up and then divide by how many numbers you added up (in other words, it means AVERAGE, ya know, that math formula learned in like the 3rd or 4th grade?). Mode... count how many times a value appears in the list and what ever value shows up the most is the mode (ya know, the MOST FREQUENT). Median, put 'em order, count to you hit the middle and that would be the median (this may explain why it sounds like MIDDLE).

Gave this person 9, count 'em ... NINE numbers, easy numbers.... 2,2,2,9,7,6,5,4,3... simple numbers. Didn't even attempt to double digit ones here.

Not ten minutes later.... "I don't know what to do!!!!"

Gonna go find another wall to since I just wasted 2 hrs of my life I coulda spent reading BYC.

OH... forgot to mention, the person in question is a 37 y/o mother of two in her SENIOR year of college pursuing a degree in criminal justice.

2. ### WIChookchickChillin' With My Peeps

Aug 25, 2010
Rural Brooklyn, WI
Quote:I dunno. I am bad at math... And I had a hard time understanding what you said...
Mean- 40 (the numbers all added up) divided by 9 (the number or numbers) which equals 4.44 (that would the mean) I hate to say it... it doesn't sound right even if it is...
The average of the numbers is when you divide the number of numbers you added up.. that kinda makes more sense.. If you had explained that a person adds up 7, or 10 or 21 numbers.. then divides by that number NOT the end product.. that is the addition.. if you count the numbers in the sequence and divide that number to the end product of the addition.. that gives you the average or mean.
And it is basic algebra, Not a lot of people do algebra, and algebra is not 3rd or 4th grade.

3. ### Chinchilla2Chillin' With My Peeps

Jun 9, 2011
Red Rock
Quote:I could have typed out a large portion of the conversation here at my table but my post was the gist of it. We spent 1 hour on just doing the mean / average thing. Started off with her presenting her statistics homework and wound up with me walking her through doing an average for 2 numbers, then 3 numbers, until we got up to 9 numbers. I knew there was going to be trouble when she could not divide 8 by 2... the two digit practice was "Okay, to get mean which is a fancy way of saying 'average', you add up the numbers you are given and divide that answer by how many numbers you had to add up. If you add up 2 numbers, you divide by 2... add up 10 numbers, divide by 10... it won't matter if it is 5 numbers or a million numbers, how ever many you add up is the number you will divide the adding up answer by. For example, how much is 3 + 5? Okay, now how many numbers did you add up? Okay, now to get mean you divide by how many numbers you added up so divide by 2" ... she got <drum roll> 5

Even the math aside, to look at a line of numbers and not understand "Okay, put them in order from smallest to largest. Now, find the one number that is in the middle of the row. Don't pay attention to what the number is, what you are looking at is the POSITION of the number, not how much that number is. The one in the MIDDLE will be median." Even my 8y/o knows what median is and can tell ya that. And yes, the formula for average is in his advanced 3rd grade math book which is the equivalent to a 4th grade book. I know because I took it out of his backpack to show her after her "I don't get it" comment.

The problem here is that with an OPEN textbook that shows all the information AND a calculator handy AND 2 hours of working assorted examples, this woman is completely lost. As a person who has taken 3 years of college (she has over 100 credit hours), you cannot tell me nor lead me to believe that even after I explain that "mean" is the same thing as "average" that she has NEVER had to work out what an average is.

I'm just blowing off steam here. She'll be back tomorrow and I'll make another pot of coffee and we'll work on it again. For those that want to know why I would want to after complaining about it, she's a friend who is doing all she can to further herself and make a better life for her and her kids. So frustration and exasperation aside, I'll dig up more notepads and go right back to it. Better to blow off the frustration with a post and get it out of my system.