Places We Have Visited

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Objective

Students will collect, record, display and analyze data about places visited by family, friends, and themselves.

Big Idea

Graphs can make it easy and fun to analyze data and learn more about our classroom community!

Opener

20 minutes

This lesson is intended to follow the lesson Our Favorite Places, though it can certainly stand alone. For homework in the previous lesson, students were asked to interview at least one adult at home about their 10 favorite places.  They could certainly interview more than one, as long as the teacher keeps track of the total number of adults in the data set!  I identified anyone 18 or older as an adult as a lot of them wanted to interview older siblings.  Some of them also wanted to interview other children and I let them do this as well, and that data was used in another part of the activity.

Creating the Data Table

25 minutes

This process proceeds much as it did the previous day, in the Our Favorite Places lesson. Again, I pre-create categories suited to my location to make it easier to organize the information.  If I lived elsewhere, I would follow the same steps and just use different locations.  Otherwise there is such a variety of content it can become unwieldy, though that in itself is a valuable example of why data needs to be organized in order to be comprehensible.

There have been times that I have listed all the places on the board and then, with the help of the students, categorized it, but that adds another hour to the lesson and depending on the attention span and temperament of your students it may or may not be a good fit.  It is an option to consider.

If I lived in eastern Massachusetts, for example, I might categorize places as follows: places in ________ (name of town or city in which children actually live), places in Boston, places in Massachusetts, places in New England, places in the U.S., Europe, other countries.

Looking at the Map

15 minutes

We look at the map (online, wall map, student printed copies from a site such as National Geographic) and put dot's in the approximate locations everyone has visited.  Different dot colors signify the quantity of students that have visited a given place.  Example:  yellow - 1, pink - 2, orange - 3 to 5, red 6 to 10, blue - 10 to 15, and so on.  

Then we discuss the possible connections between places that had a high number of visits and their location, relative to where we live and relative to featured attractions such as amusement parks, stuff for adults to do (many of my students go to Vegas, for example) and natural splendor (National Parks, ocean, mountains, rivers).

If at all possible, I try to take about 25 locations (many of them overlap) that represent the class and plug them into a Google Earth folder during my lunch time so that I can introduce them to the idea of taking a Google Earth tour before they go home for the day.  This gives them more to share at home and provides the hook for tomorrow's lesson!

Places We Have Visited (Google Earth)