Mode Is the Most!

Contributor: Erika Wargo. Lesson ID: 12793

Pie a la mode is great! Getting the lawn mode is . . . not quite correct. But "Mode Is the Most" when it's used to find the number that occurs most in a series of data, like scores. And it's so easy!


Statistics, Statistics and Probability

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Have you ever poured out a bag of candy to count how many of each color you had? Have you even been lucky enough to find that your favorite color or flavor outnumbered the others? Finding the color or flavor of candy that appears the most is called finding the mode!

Mode is the most!

Mode is the number that appears the most times in a data set. It can be found by identifying the value that occurs most frequently within a set of data. In most data sets, it is the number that appears the most. It can be helpful to order the data set from lowest to highest, and then find which number or numbers appear the most!

The following table shows which sport was the favorite among a group of friends. What is the mode for this set of data? Share your answer with a teacher or parent:


Favorite Sport











First, you must order the values from least to greatest: {3,4,4,4,6}.

The number that appears most often is 4. It appears three times. The mode for this set of data is 4, because that is the number that appears the most.

Mode is the most! Even though the number 6 is greater than 4, we want to look for the value that appears more frequently than the other numbers.

Take a moment to look at another example showing points from a basketball game:

Basketball points: 11, 15, 16, 16, 21, 5, 9

What is the mode? The mode is 16. 16 was the most common amount of points scored.

Touchdowns scored: 7, 14, 11, 12, 11, 20, 8, 5, 10

What is the mode? The mode is 11. 11 was the most common amount of touchdowns scored.

There are a few tricks to remember about mode:

  • Two modes If there are two numbers that appear most often (the same number of times), then there are two modes! For example, if the data set is {4, 5, 6, 3, 2, 4, 6}, the values 4 and 6 both appear two times and more often than the other values. The modes are 4 and 6.
  • No mode If all of the numbers appear the same number of times, then there is no mode! For example, if the data set is {20, 40, 50, 70}, all of the values appear only once, so there is no mode. Don't write "zero" if there is no mode. Zero is a value, so make sure you say "no mode."

What is the mode for the numbers 7, 6, 5, 8, 7, 5, 9, 3, 5 and 4?

  1. Order the numbers from least to greatest: {3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8, 9}
  2. Count how many of each number appears in the set.
  3. The mode is 5 because it appears three times.

Discuss with a teacher or parent:

  • Why is it helpful to arrange the numbers in order from least to greatest?
  • Why might the mode be helpful in sports scores or the weather?
  • Can you think of any other instances where the mode would be helpful to someone?

Now that you know what to look for when finding the mode, continue on to the Got It? section to put your knowledge to the test!

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