Math = Love: Mean, Median, Mode, and Range Spider Puzzles

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mean, Median, Mode, and Range Spider Puzzles

The activity I'm about to share isn't super fancy or complex, but my students absolutely loved it.  I had planned two activities for our 50 minute class period in Algebra 1 on reviewing measures of central tendency: this activity and another.  We did this activity first, and my students did not want to move on to the second activity!  

These Average and Range Spider Puzzles are a free download from alutwyche on TES.  I was made aware of this awesome resource by Jo Morgan at Resourceaholic.  

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I downloaded the PPT file from TES, exported it as a PDF, then printed it to "fit" on letter sized paper since the original file is intended to print on A4 paper.

There are four different levels of spider puzzles.  I placed copies of the first level inside my dry erase pockets (affiliate link).  These handy dandy pockets make any activity instantly reusable.  I find that my students are much more willing to take a risk with a dry erase marker in their hand than a pen or pencil.  You can get these dry erase pockets (affiliate link) super cheap on Amazon when you search for them as "shop ticket holders" (affiliate link).

I had my students work on this activity in pairs.

As they finished the puzzle, the students would bring the puzzle up to my desk.  I used the answer key provided in the TES download to check their work.  If there were mistakes, I would circle the problems that needed to be looked at again.  If there were no mistakes, I would switch out the puzzle in their dry erase pocket with the next level.

I used my Avery Plastic Sleeves (affiliate link) to keep the different puzzle levels organized throughout the day.  You can read more about this new organization method here.

As students progressed through the levels, the puzzles started asking for them to provide two numbers instead of one number.  My students REALLY struggled with this concept.

None of my students made it through all four levels in the twenty-five or so minutes that we spent on this activity.

As I mentioned before, my students DID NOT want to stop this activity to move on to the next activity!  And, it wasn't because they found it super easy, either.  Most pairs breezed through the first level and struggled with the subsequent levels.  

I was proud to see some of my students referencing their notes!  I've blogged about the notes I created for reviewing mean, median, mode, and range here.

I look forward to trying more spider puzzles with my students in the future!

Here are a few more action shots of my students.  


  1. What a great idea! I'm totally stealing the plastic sleeves idea (and the spider activity as well)... You have no idea how much organization help I need. Thanks!

  2. I used this today with my Pre-Algebra 6th and 7th graders and they LOVED it. Gave them a chance to play with the measures of center instead of just finding them. Had me on my toes as I needed to do some quick math to check some answers that weren't on the answer key. I've used the plastic sleeves for whiteboards for a chunk of this year and my kids love them. Thanks for posting all this math goodness on your site. You're my go-to when I need innovative ideas!

  3. Spider Puzzle 3, if the far left rectangle is supposed to be 6 and 11 as the answer key states, then the Mean = 5.5, NOT 6.5.

  4. Love this! Where did you get the dry erase wipes (the blue square of material)?