I am getting married this summer and am finding out just how expensive weddings are. Every site and article I read always seem to state the average cost of a wedding, however, I know from all the statistics classes I have taken that the mean is not always the best way to represent the typical value.

My Advanced Pre-Algebra students are currently learning about the limits of basic statistics and the cost of a wedding in the United States is the perfect tie in for the debate of mean vs. median and the impact of outliers.

On the quiz I gave my students Monday, I asked them the following...

In part (b) I was looking for the students suggesting that the newly engaged couple be told the median since that value is not as influenced by the high outliers like the mean is.

Below are some shots of my student's explanations.

I especially enjoyed this section:

__. TheKnot .com told Oremus that is does not publish the median along with the mean since they don't want to "confuse" people. When Oreums asked the editor in chief of TheKnot.com to expand more on why the median is not used, this was her response:__

**Americans do not understand what the median is**We had a great discussion as a class after they read they article. Thank you Will Oremus for a fantastic article that got my students talking about statistics and providing me some insight as I plan my wedding.

Readers, I leave you with the closing remarks of Mr. Oremus:

"There's nothing wrong with spending 28 G's in 24 hours if you've got the

*means*. Just don't fool yourself into thinking that there's anything

*average*about it" (emphasis added)

(The file below is the word document I made from the article to print nicely. I printed 2 pages to 1, double sided.)

the_wedding_industry-mean_or_median.docx |