One way to collect data is for students to ask questions of others. I begin today's lesson by telling students that in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday coming up next week, we are going to try to find out about some favorites related to the Seuss books and characters.
This math lesson will tie in to a reading unit on series books where students are looking for patterns in the books. We will do the same with the Seuss books.
I say to students, when I mention Dr. Seuss, what do you think of? (books, characters, etc.) We generate a list of things we think of and put them on chart paper.
Do you think everyone thinks of the same things when we talk about Dr. Seuss? Is there a way that we might find out about how others feel about some of the things we have thought of? (ask them).
Ok, maybe we could send a survey to other classes to fill out. A survey is a set questions that we ask and then we can collect all the answers.
What kinds of questions might you want to ask? (I try to help students to generate questions that can be rated as yes/no, or a vote such as favorite characters or favorite books. ) Don't forget to look back at all the things we knew about Dr. Seuss from the list we just generated (favorite characters, favorite titles, things about Dr. Seuss's life - his real name, etc.,).
We generate a list of questions that students want to find out about. (It is always important to find a topic of interest to your students and then let them generate the questions. This way they will be invested in the information they collect, and all the more interested in the math that is attached to it.)
We agree on how to get the questions to others in the building and send out our survey. I tell students that in several days we can collect and sort all the data we have collected.
From the questions in the first part of the lesson, students were most interested in everyone's favorite character. I had students suggest favorite Dr. Seuss characters of their own. We have generated our list of 10 favorite characters. I say to students, do you want to find out our own favorite character and then we can compare it to what the rest of the school likes?
Students are excited about that so I give them a voting sheet with the pictures of the 10 favorite characters. ( I was fortunate to have a lunch break in order to generate the list but you could just have students write down the names of their 3 favorite from a list you write on the board.) I tell them to pick their 3 favorite characters and number them 1,2,3. I post the same list on the Smart Board to use for a tally sheet. Students record their 3 favorite. Next I tell them to put their finger on their number one choice. When I call that character out they should raise their hand. I tell them we are only tallying our number one character. We create a tally on the board. Next I ask them to put their finger on their number 2 choice. I repeat the process, recording the responses in a different color. We do the same with the third favorite choice in a third color. I now have 3 sets of colored tally marks for first, second and third favorite characters.
Next I hand students a large piece of graph paper. I ask them to draw the line (representing the x axis, but I do not use that term with students at this level I just tell them to draw a line up one square from the bottom and to trace the line on the paper). I demonstrate and ask them to copy what I have done. Now I ask them to draw the vertical line on the edge (the y axis), and again I demonstrate what I am expecting and ask them to copy by tracing over the line on the paper. We label the bottom with the names of the characters (one for each square of the graph paper), and we label the side squares going up with 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. Finally I ask students to take out 3 colors of colored pencil. I ask them to fill in the graph for the favorites which are in green on the board. I do the first one and let students complete the rest of the favorites graph. Next I show them how to use a second color on top of the first to represent the second choice. I encourage students to do the third choice on their own. We could have just colored in all of the votes for each character with square for each vote, but because we will be asking the rest of the school to vote for 1 favorite character and will be then making a school graph, we will be separating our data out and only using our favorites for that part of the lesson. I was afraid that if we each only voted once today, we would have very little variation on our graph because I have 19 students and 10 characters.
When graphs are complete, I invite students to the rug to share their graphs. We set all of the graphs in the center and then use the graphs to answer questions. (The graphs are a form of modeling with mathematics (MP4) and then using that model to answer questions.)
1. Which character was the most popular over all?
2. Which one was the least? ( We did have 1 with zero votes so it was important to discuss that this was the least, and not the character with 2 votes. )
3. I asked how many more did the most popular get than the least?
4. How many did 2 characters get together?
I collect the graphs at the end of the lesson to save to compare to the whole school data we are collecting.