For this month's Engage theme Learning with Data, I thought it would be useful to share some of my favorite activities to engage elementary students in collecting and analyzing data.
Before I do that though, I would like to share this article I came across from Edutopia about the importance of including students in data collection. Data is not just something that we should be teaching about in Math class:
I also enjoyed this post (by the same author) on how to help your students develop data literacy. “Thinking analytically about data can start as early as the elementary grades. Tania Hipple-Lopez, math specialist at the MUSE School in Calabasas, California, helps students connect math with their interest-driven projects. "If doesn't matter if the project is about dogs, skateboarding, or fashion," she says. "We want to infuse it with math."
Here are three data driven activities that I love having elementary students participate in:
What are glyphs? Here is a definition from Mathwire.com: “Glyphs are a pictorial form of data collection. You might be reminded of the term "hieroglyphics" and think about early picture writing. Different forms of glyphs are used in many medical situations to quickly record data about a patient in pictorial form. For example, a dentist records cavities on a picture of teeth. A chiropractor might record injuries or muscle aches on a skeletal picture. In these cases, a "picture is worth a thousand words" and the glyph allows a doctor to more quickly record and analyze the data.
Students in elementary school often create paper art projects for different seasons or holidays. It is easy to transform these traditional projects into mathematical glyphs that allow students to organize and analyze data over several visits.”
I love using glyphs in the classroom. There are widely used, but I wanted to take them to the next level. So after having my students complete this Turkey Glyph from Teachers.net, I connected with another teacher in Texas who had her students complete the same activity. As individual classes, we analyzed our glyph data and recorded the feathers part via Google Forms. We then held a Skype call where we compared our class’ glyph data and discussed our favorite Thanksgiving foods. It was an awesome way to have my students practice data literacy.
Here are a few sites you might check if you are interested in making glyphs with your class:
2. Student Created Surveys
I love using the Create a Graph site that @Deb mentioned in her latest blog post: https://engage.intel.com/community/teachersengage/blog/2016/06/04/learning-with-data-a-chat-with-deb . So easy and powerful at the same time. I love having students come up with their own survey, polling fellow students, and then creating a graph to represent their data via that site.
Thinking about the same lesson, I would love to try and use the emoji.ink website to do a similar type of activity. Adults love emojis, teens love emojis, and kids LOVE emojis. Emojis are everywhere, not just text messages. I think using emojis would be a super fun way to practice Pictograph skills! Basically, it is an emoji whiteboard. You can create ANYTHING with the emojis that pop up when you launch the website.
3. Data collection via Twitter
One of the topics that is widely studied in my district is weather. We came across this call for weather data from a fellow Twitter user:
They created a Google Form for participants to fill out. They then were able to use Google Sheets to analyze weather data from around the globe! How cool is that? What a great way to collect widespread data! We are planning to do something similar this upcoming year.
I also love that in Twitter you can create your own polls. This would also be a way to gather quick data. It doesn’t even have to be about weather. It could be anything that your students are curious about. Perhaps it’s about what kids around the world eat for lunch, or what their favorite book is. You dream it, you can collect the data!
How do you promote Data Literacy in your classroom? I’d love to hear your ideas below!