Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Playing with Data

Have you ever watched the show Chopped on Food Network? I love this show. For those of you that don't watch it, professional chefs open a basket of mystery ingredients and make a meal using all the ingredients.  I've thought I would like to compete in a teacher version of this show where I open a basket and have to create a lesson plan from the objects in the basket. You see I love to write lesson plans. It's what I do for fun. (Sad, I know.) My family and friends know this about me, so they bring me stuff to look at before they throw it out. Nine times out of ten I can come up with a lesson to go with the unwanted  item. And that leads me to the picture above. My mom, a first grade teacher, was getting ready to throw these jacks out but made the mistake of asking me if I could think of a lesson for them.  After a couple of minutes I had an idea, and I created a data analysis packet to go with the game of jacks. The students play a game of jacks and record the results of the game or the number of jacks they are able to pick up. (Give each student or group a ball and 5 jacks.) Then they take the results and create four different types of graphs using the data they gathered.
Now I need your help. I really like to use authentic data to teach students math skills, but sometimes my ideas might be a little far fetched. Of course, I haven't tried this in my classroom, so I have no idea if this would work in the real world. I would love to have your thoughts about this activity. What do you think? How could I make it better? Does it even make sense? I can take the criticism. Bring it on:) Click {HERE} or on the picture for a free copy.

Update:
I had a couple of questions about the circle graph and thought I should elaborate a bit. I've been working with my students all year on turning data into a graph. During Calender Math we tackle a different graph each day based on authentic data we have collected. We create a bar, pie, pictograph, and line graph every week. Then we talk about which one is the best for displaying the information. I compare this to graphic organizers. There are many to choose from but one usually works better than the others. The pie graph and pictograph are a stretch for this activity but can still be done.  Here's how I pictured it: If a student picked up three jacks in three attempts they would color three slices blue. If they picked up 1 jack in the other two attempts they would color in the two slices red. Their pie graph would then be three blue and two red.  At the end of the activity we would discuss which graph is the best for displaying the information and  which ones were not great for displaying the information.

Good luck as you continue to create magic in your classroom!

18 comments:

  1. Great idea Selina! How do you plan to use the circle graph on here? I can't quite wrap my head around it.

    The rest of it looks great...and like something the kids would have so much fun doing.

    ~Stephanie
    Teaching in Room 6

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    1. Stephanie,

      The circle graph was a stretch, but I've been turning all kinds of data into circle graphs all year. We tackle a different graph each day during calender math. Here's how I pictured it: If a student picked up three jacks in three attempts they would color three slices blue. If they picked up 1 jack in the other two attempts they would color in the two slices red. Their pie graph would then be three blue and two red. As I write this I realized I didn't take into account 0 jacks. Maybe they would leave it blank??? Thanks for the honest feedback!
      Selina

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  2. Looks like fun! I need to review data & graphs so will use next week. Had the same question as Stephanie for pie graph. Also, on the pictograph, should it be "attempts" rather than # of jacks?

    Thank you for sharing this fun idea. Will let you know how it goes :-)

    ~cindy (5th grade)

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Cindy! Here's what I told Stephanie about the pie graph: "The circle graph was a stretch, but I've been turning all kinds of data into circle graphs all year. We tackle a different graph each day during calender math. Here's how I pictured it: If a student picked up three jacks in three attempts they would color three slices blue. If they picked up 1 jack in the other two attempts they would color in the two slices red. Their pie graph would then be three blue and two red. As I write this I realized I didn't take into account 0 jacks. Maybe they would leave it blank???" I would LOVE to know how it goes.

      Selina

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  3. I am using this with my class! Great idea! I think they will love it!

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    1. Thank you! I would love to know how it goes! As I was explaining the pie graph to two others, I realized I didn't take into account a student not catching any jacks. I guess they should leave it blank. Sorry! Most of the time I test things out before a post them, and I'm able to work out the mistakes.

      Selina

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  4. First, will you come to my class to write my lesson plans?? ;)
    Second, I think this is a neat idea. I will try it with my 3rd graders, if I can find some jacks. I might have some chinese jacks around...
    thanks for sharing!!

    Jamie
    Thrills in Third Grade

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    1. Yes, I would love to write your lesson plans:)
      If you can't find jacks, just have them pick up anything. They could even crumble up small balls of paper. All you really need is a set of bouncy balls.

      Selina

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  5. This looks great and want to put it in my plans for next week! Will let you know how it goes!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! Make sure you read my first reply to Stephanie about the circle graph. Let me know how it goes!

      Selina

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  6. This is awesome!! I added a little extra to the bottom of one of the sheets to include: Mean, median, mode, and range. Can't wait to try it!!

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  7. Thank you! I actually created a mean, median, mode, range printable and uploaded it to TpT. It's free, but I didn't share the link here because some people really hate Teachers Pay Teachers. Here's the link if you want it: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Game-Data-Mean-Median-Mode-and-Range-Math-Activity

    Selina

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  8. Love the website and the jacks idea! I am convinced that there is a team of dozens working on this website as I can find no way that one person can create something this great and be a full time teacher too.
    Some minor things to think about in the future from a picky math person.
    1. As a previous poster noted the pictograph should be "attempts" and not "jacks" or else everybody's graph will look the same and it won't represent their data.
    2. Your bar graph and line graph should include zero at the bottom
    3. Line graphs often (but not always) start on the vertical axis (far left) with the first piece of data.
    4. I like to include the vertical lines in a line plot for the children. Again, not necessary just a suggestion.
    4. In your bar graph your numbers on the vertical axis should be on the lines like they are in your line graph(not in the spaces)

    I like that the bar graph would have a blank for zero. It could lead to a great class discussion on what to do with that important data.

    Thanks!

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    1. LOL I wish a had a team.
      Thank you for all the suggestions. I really appreciate having honest feedback. Some people my be reluctant to criticize because it's free, but if teachers can't use it, then this blog is pretty pointless. I will make the changes to the pictograph. I must have missed that suggestion the first time because of course it should be attempts. I'm not sure if I can fix the line graph, but I will try. (The program I'm using isn't letting me change it for some reason.) I love the line plot suggestion. As I prepare for Common Core I'm noticing it is the ONLY data analysis I'll be teaching my 4th graders. (I'm a little bitter about that.)
      Again thank you for taking so much time on your comment.

      Selina

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  9. After this assignment students will be picking their own activity to attempt, and then graphing their results to create a poster. Love it.

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    1. Love that idea! Thanks for sharing.

      Selina

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  10. It's late, but the circle graph representation leaped out. To create an accurate circle graph you cannot use the diagram you included, as your circle has equal parts, and your data are not equal. Convert your data to percentages. Divide each piece of data (the numerator, or part) by the denominator (whole). Leave the percentage in decimal point form for the moment

    Go to http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Pie-Chart for an excellent explanation and illustration. In sum, circle graphs/pie charts take another level of mathematics skill.

    SN

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    1. Thanks, I'll try to fix it this summer!

      Selina

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