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Median of Large Sets of Data

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Median of Large Sets of Data - Answer Key

Your City’s Median Carbon Footprint


Your City’s Median Carbon Footprint


  • Median
  • Mean
  • Mode

Student Exploration

What is the median carbon footprint in your city?

Image of a power plant.

Have you ever wondered what your role is in helping and hurting the environment? Use the website below from the U.S. Department of Energy and your knowledge of calculating the median of a large set of data to calculate your city’s median carbon footprint! A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions created by a person, household, or organization. Every time we burn fossil fuels to power our homes, cars or to make the items we consume, carbon dioxide is emitted up into the atmosphere. Use this website and the map of the carbon emissions in your area.


Enter your zip code (or the zip code of a city in U.S. city that you have heard of, if you don’t live in the U.S.) in the website above. Then click on the pins to get information about the Annual CO_2 emission for your area. As you click on the pins, use your graphing calculator to put the data into a list. Follow the directions from the previous lesson to calculate the median carbon footprint for your city!

1. What is the median carbon footprint of your city?

Answers will vary based on the city/zip code. Here is an example for the zip code 90041, a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles, California.

3, 3.6, 4.5, 5.1, 4.9, 3, 4.9, 4.8, 4.1, 4.4, 4.3, 4.3, 5.4, 5.2, 3.9 and 5.2. This numbers are then entered into the calculator and sorted. As there are 18 numbers, the median is the mean between the numbers in the 8^{th} and 9^{th} positions (4.4 and 4.5). Therefore the median CO_2 emission for this area is 4.45.

Extension Investigation

2. What is the mean carbon footprint of your city?

3. What is the mode carbon footprint of your city?

Image of a recycling bin.

4. Now that you have calculated your city’s median carbon footprint, what are some ways that you could lessen your carbon footprint? Brainstorm at least eight ways! Then make an action plan for how you and your family can lessen your environmental impact. Then share it with your family!

Here are a few examples of how students can lower their carbon footprint. Eat locally grown or produced food, reducing electricity use, reduce heating, have their family buy energy-efficient appliances with the “Energy Star” label, buy durable and re-usable goods (rather than disposable goods), have their family sign up for renewable energy (such as wind or solar), or grow their own food in a garden.

Need help brainstorming ideas? Or do you just want to learn more? Visit the websites below by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency!



Resources Cited




Connections to other CK-12 Subject Areas

  • Median
  • Measures of Central Tendency and Dispersion
  • Smart Meters
  • Energy Conservation
  • Introduction to Energy Resources

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