Mathematics, Data Analysis and Probability
Grade 1- 3
Students learn how to collect and organize data, create graphs, and use graphs to intepret data.
Graphing a type of food or food preference can be effective means of teaching students about graphs. One method of graphing is to write a question on the board or on a poster. The question should be written exactly as it appears on the student's paper. Ask the students to create graphs using a variety of methods, depending upon what is most efficient in your classroom. For example, if you have a white board, you may write the question and have each student use a dry-erase marker to graph the information that provides the answer. If you use a chalkboard, you may write the question and provide students with sticky notes to use as data markers. They can then write their names on their sticky notes, come up to the board, and place their votes on the class graph.
Another effective method of creating a graph is to write the graph question on poster board or chart paper and have each student contribute to the graph by gluing on a piece of cut paper, coloring in the information on the graph, or using a sticky note to indicate a preference. An overhead projector can also be used as a means of creating a graph and presenting results. Students can actually contribute their data on an overhead transparency and share it with the class.
After data has been collected, students should transfer the information to their individual papers. Once this is done, they need to communicate as much about the data as they can. It is most beneficial to do several class graphs without paperwork prior to having the students use their pencils. By doing this, students begin to develop vocabulary that can later be used to express their observations about the class graphs. While discussing the results of the graph, use words like most, least, similar, total, difference, and conclusion. This vocabulary becomes a natural part of their answers when they get used to hearing it.
You may want to delay providing the snack until immediately after the graph is finished. Presenting the most popular snack according to the graph is one more way to show students the value of real-life information and how their decisions and votes do have an impact.
The way the information is represented is not as important as the interpretation of the graph data.
The key to graphing activities is to make them important to the students. When students realize that graphing is another safe environment in which to communicate about math, their interest peaks.