January 2007

Featured Topic:   Data Analysis Activities

Students are encouraged to collect real, meaningful data, organize that data and analyze the data to draw conclusions and explain what they have learned. There are many opportunities to incorporate data collection experiences within the school day.

Question of the Day

Capitalize on student interest by creating a daily data collection activity. Mrs. Soranno's kindergarten students move their name to answer the question of the day. Evidently the class is evenly split on whether or not they like mustard.

Use a variety of data organization tools: tally chart, Venn Diagram, clothespin graph, bar graph, pictograph, etc. to help students learn to organize and interpret data in these different representations.

  • See Winter Data Collection Activities for some suggested data collection questions and topics
  • Teachers of older students sometimes assign students the job of creating the question of the day and reporting the results to the class.

Clothespin Graphs

Write each student's name on a clothespin. A piece of foam core board or laminated oak tag makes a great two-choice (Yes/No) graph board. Students simply affix the clothespin to the correct side to indicate their response. Students can easily "see" the results and count to verify the outcome.

  • Use this method to record the results of informal classroom surveys:
    • Literature: Which character do you like best? What do you think the character will do next? Which version of the story do you prefer?
    • Daily Routines: Are you buying lunch or did you bring lunch? Present or Absent?
  • Ask students to report the results of who won two-player games so that the class can analyze the fairness of the games. These are great math center activities.
    • See Heads & Tails Game for an easy two-player application that focuses on the probability of a single-coin toss. Use a clothespin graph or a simple tally chart to record winners (heads or tails) for class discussion of the data collection results.

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About is designed to provide activities and appropriate worksheets for teachers to use in their classrooms.   All activities and worksheets support the constructivist approach to learning mathematics and the NCTM Standards.

Activities:   The activities on this site were developed by Terry Kawas and the teachers in districts where she has worked as a math consultant and coach or with students she has taught in college math-methods courses.   The activities are classroom-tested by teachers and appropriate modifications have been made to reflect this field-testing.   These activities are posted online in an effort to share quality activities and routines within the mathematics community.

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