Understanding averages using skunks


CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context, such as by:

  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5.A Reporting the number of observations.
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5.B Describing the nature of the attribute under investigation, including how it was measured and its units of measurement.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5.C Giving quantitative measures of center (median and/or mean) and variability (interquartile range and/or mean absolute deviation), as well as describing any overall pattern and any striking deviations from the overall pattern with reference to the context in which the data were gathered.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


30 minutes 


In this lesson plan, students will learn how to find the mean and calculate the average and practice finding the average in a game environment. They will learn about skunks and skunk farming through primary source material. Then analyzing historical data, students will calculate the average.


Device with web-browser (Chromebook, laptop or desktop computer)


Introduce the Assignment

Students can read the assignment, Going on a Skunk Hunt , on their own or teachers can read it to the class and ask any questions (5 minutes)

Through the next three activities – video, reading and assessment –  students will gather clues to unlock the “secret password” for the Skunk Hunt and get to play a short online game. Individual links to the video, reading and assessment components are included below for your reference, but are all included in the Skunk Hunt activity as well for ease of student access. 

The answer to the Skunk Hunt/secret password is: 3harvestnewyork1911


Watch this animated video explaining how to find the average. The video includes an example problem walking through the process, introduces the formula to find the average and also includes vocabulary to explain that mean and average the same thing. (2:00)


Read this short post, Skunks for Fur and Farming , about the intersection of skunks and agriculture, incorporating information from primary sources and historical data. (5-10 minutes)


In this assessment activity, Playing the Skunk Market ,students will use a table with historical data to solve two to four problems asking students to find the average. Two problems require solving for the average and two problems require solving for the average or estimating the average. (10-15 minutes)


RELATED: This lesson plan corresponds with the math standards covered in and refers to content included in Forgotten Trail. Forgotten Trail is recommended as a supplemental resource for this activity. The image at the top of this post is from that game. You can view your students’ progress on mastering these standards by viewing your teacher reports. You can access the Forgotten Trail reports here.

3 thoughts on “Understanding averages using skunks

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