November 6, 2012

Beginning Data Management - Part 1

Hi Everyone,
Sorry I haven't been on here in awhile. I've been hard at work on another big project, and now that that is done I'll try to post more often.

As you may know, I'm a "numeracy facilitator" for my school board this year, working between 2 schools at the moment in Grades 1 to 6.  Right now everyone is transitioning to our data management strand, and I thought I would share a couple of great ideas that happened last week in our Grade 5 classes.  On October 31st, students were asked to sort their Halloween treats, and record their findings in some way, as they would be using the results the next day at school.  

They were given pre-determined categories:  Candy, Pop, Chips, Chocolate Bars, and Other.  They also then had to sort the chocolate bars into brand names.  The teachers did not tell the students how to record their results, and the next morning students brought in tally charts, bar graphs, lists, etc.  Students then worked in groups of 4 to add their numbers together to find out how many chips the group got altogether, how much pop, etc.  The last step was to show this information in a graph.  Here's one group's bar graph:

(I wish I knew how to rotate this!)  The great thing about this was....it was the first day of data management, and the kids weren't given any instruction at all!  They did such a great job showing us how much they already knew about graphing, that the teachers and I realized that most of the "review" we had originally planned on doing to refresh their minds was completely unnecessary.  

We did discover that that while most students knew they needed titles and subtitles, they really didn't know how to create these important features in a meaningful manner.  Tomorrow I'll share how we addressed this quickly, in a manner in which the kids told us what was needed; we didn't need to tell them!

While I know Halloween is passed, you could do the same activity by having students gather loose change at home and bring their results (not the coins themselves) to school.  You will likely be amazed at how much your kids already know about how to show information in graph form!

Tomorrow - Part 2!
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