Data Detectives, Part 2

Here is the follow-up to my first data inquiry lesson.....If you missed it, click HERE!

When we continued our math learning about data, my students were ready! After I shared what the numbers really meant, I asked my class, "What else can we learn about our class? What else do you want to know?" Hand shot up. Some of their questions: How many teeth have we lost? Who wears earrings? What color hair do people have? 

I announced that they would now work with a partner (that I had picked based on their learning needs and work habits) to decide on what kind of data they would collect and how they would collect it. Then I gave them this page to organize their thinking.
Click if you'd like a copy!

Students immediately set to work as Data Detectives!

Then they began collecting data by questioning their classmates. What I was most interested to see was how they recorded their data. Would they use tally marks, make a graph, draw pictures? I hadn't mentioned any strategies yet; I wanted to see what they knew. Here's what they did...
Some students recorded numbers.
Some students recorded words.
Some students recorded data through pictures.
                             Some students recorded tally marks.

As students collected data, some pairs were finished way before others, so we all checked in as a group. We gathered on the rug to share what we had done so far. It was very interesting to see how all of the 10 pairs had gone about data collection differently! We looked at each pair's work, some of which was hard to read!

Next I raised this question, "How can we share our data so that people can understand it?" I questioned a couple pairs about their data in front of the group. A lot of what they recorded was difficult to understand, so I gave them another piece of paper and asked them to make their data easier to understand.
Here are some of their before and afters:

Before: "I can read the numbers, but what do they mean? How can you organize your data?"
After: "Ok, so now I see that there are mostly 6s; Six of what? What kind of information did you collect?" I kept questioning them to think more about how to show their data more clearly. Knowing that they had learned about graphs in kindergarten, I was actually quite surprised that most of the students struggled to show their data in an organized way (like on a chart or graph).
The next pair was certainly an exception. They were able to organize and illustrate their data pretty easily...

Again, it was so cool to see how each pair set about the task of showing their data in (what they thought was) a meaningful way so differently! Some students were a little frustrated with the process, but I think they will retain more in the long run because it all came from them.

Now I felt they were ready for me to formally introduce (remind them about) graphs. That sounds like the third and final post about "Data Detectives"!

Signature photo ScreenShot2013-04-26at54143PM.png


  1. This is such a cute idea and well organized! Thanks for sharing.


  2. This is such a cute idea and well organized! Thanks for sharing.



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