Trends in Tech Use

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SWBAT collect and quantitatively analyze data about technology use and represent their findings in fraction form.

Big Idea

We all use technology in different ways at different times. This activity is a fun way to learn more about these patterns within the children and families associated with our classroom!


7 minutes

Prior to teaching this lesson, students need to complete this Technology Survey one night for homework.

When I pass out the survey, I explain that our goal is to revisit time intervals (quarters of an hour) while we also gather data about the times at which students and their families/caregivers use certain devices.  In our classroom there are times when the internet is much slower than others and I give them the analogy of a highway at rush hour.  We are trying to collect data, on a very small scale, about both device preference and use times.  Why?  It's interesting!

Students are fascinated and perplexed by the idea that I grew up pre-computer, even pre-VCR.  When I was their age there were the 5 TV channels (and I lived near a large metropolitan area in the heavily populated Northeast corridor) and that was it.  Therefore, patterns tended to be more consistent.  Most family TV was watched in the early evening as that was when children's programming was available.

Compiling the Data

20 minutes

When I first taught a version of this activity I called on students one at a time to share out their data while everyone recorded it on their sheet.

I've revised the activity to make the compilation of data more interactive. students work in small groups to compile their responses into sub-groups that are then read out to the class.  

Trends on a Line Graph - Part 1

25 minutes

Now students begin to fill out the trends in technology graph.  I require that they use pencil first and only after they check their work can they trace over in color.  I deliberately have them do this on paper instead of online because I believe the kinesthetic experience of making the graph encourages them to think about the task differently than they would were they to do it online.

Here are some thoughts about how to put together this graph about trends in tech use.

Wrap up

5 minutes

Students discuss patterns they've observed thus far and possible causes.  For example, in the demonstration graph, based on my class data, no students started playing video games until 3:15.  It was easy to establish that this is because none of them were home and settled prior to that time.  On the other hand, the highest phone use was when they were coming home from school, and sure enough, when we talked about it, it's because that's when they were using their caregivers' phones on the drive home.