Graphs can be used to illustrate the relationship between two variables. Watch this fun animation from NASA to learn the basics of graphing.
What’s this graph telling me?
This lesson steps students through the data collection and recording process. Students have been hired as ice-cream inventors. As the new inventor, they are responsible for inventing a new ice-cream flavour that has never been thought of before. They will survey a group of students to find out which ice-cream flavour is to be invented.
Students will select an environmental or conservation related issue and collect data to show how the choices and behaviours of members of the school community contribute to the issue. They will work collaboratively to select an issue, identify key facts, develop survey questions and carry out the survey. Students will then collate, present and share their data with the class.
Students survey and collect data concerning what is brought to school each day and subsequently becomes rubbish. They then use Excel to present that data in a variety of different ways. These lesson ideas could be used at school or at home.
Data analysis is more than calculating statistics and creating displays. The first goal for students is to formulate questions that can address the overarching question as part of the data collection process. When students formulate their own questions, the data they gather becomes more meaningful.
After information has been collected, students need to decide how to classify or categorise the data to make sense of it.
A conceptual idea of data analysis is the shape of data, a sense of how data are spread or grouped, what characteristics they have, and what they tell us in a global sense. Exploring graphical techniques will support students to visualise the shape of data and understand the best representation.
Numbers that describe the data are called statistics and are an important way to describe the data and quantify some attributes of the data.
Adapted From: Van De Walle. J and Lovin. L, Teaching Students-centred Mathematics (2006)