Just to review the process:

So you have 3 numbers: 1, 2, and 3. To get the mean, first, you add 1+2+3 to give you 6. And you had 3 numbers to begin with, so to find the mean, you divide the sum of the numbers by 3. So, you divide 6/3 to get 2. So, 2 is the mean of 1, 2 and 3.

That is such a basic example, though, it can be hard to see what the mean actually does. To help explain this, you can call the mean by a more functional name: the average. Why the mean is called "the average" becomes more noticeable when you are given different numbers, though.

For example:

You have 2, 10 and 12.

Add the three numbers together, 2+10+12 = 24

Divide 24 by the # of numbers, 24/3 = 8

So 8 is the mean. But how is it the average?

Let's say you have 2 sticks, 10 sticks, and 12 sticks in separate piles. You put them all together into 1 pile. Then, you divide them up again into 3 equal piles. There will be 8 sticks in each pile. So, the average is 8. This is your mean as well.