Data is Real Life
One of the great things about data and graphs is that it is completely real-life. Students interact with data ALL the time, without even knowing it. This ‘real-life’ aspect makes it the perfect ‘hook’ for reaching learners. To launch our unit, we take out all of our Reading A-Z books (from our book bins and our at-home reading bags) and we search for charts. We end up making a classroom collection of data and graphs! It’s the perfect tangible way to say “Data matters. It’s real. You see it every day.”
Pulling Out the Post-Its
Mini-lessons at my teacher table during our graphing unit open-up with whole-group mini-lessons. Typically, we do a related number talk, but during these two weeks I add on a mini-lesson. Over the course of the week, we pulled-out our post-it notes to survey our friends. From our favorite ways to play, to favorite foods, to which pet our class should-have-but-will-never-get. Each day we opened by creating our graph from the ground up. We learned to include a title, labels, axis, numbering each bar, not leaving gaps, etc. Plus, since post-its move so easily, it’s no big deal to make mistakes and change our thinking!
Graphing is an easy unit to incorporate other strands of the math standards. We use a huge bag of 2D shapes to play “Scoop and Graph”. Students worked in partners at my teacher table to take a scoop of shapes and create a pictograph of the results. This was a GREAT chance to talk about how appearances can be deceiving. While the row of hexagons looked HUGE there were actually more diamonds. A spot-on way to learn (without me having to explicitly say it) that when graphing the units being used must be the same size.
Bumping-Up the Challenge
Pulling out our foam dominoes (Amazon affiliate link) it’s the perfect time to review sums and practice our addition fluency. Creating an axis with sums from 0-12, students sort and ‘graph’ the dominoes based on their sums. It’s a great seg-way into bar graphs because our foam dominoes are all the same width. You can snag a free recording sheet and visual directions to make this a perfect center during guided math!
Analyzing Our Data
Collecting and representing data is an important part of the 1st Grade Common Core Standard; however, an equally important part of the standard is analyzing and discussing what students know and can learn from the data. It’s a great tie-in to earlier units because students are expected to apply math vocabulary in a real-world setting to demonstrate their knowledge. Vocabulary and concepts such as least, greater, compare, in all, etc. all become critically important. For my friends who often struggle with language and communicating their ideas, sentence frames and sentence stems have become our best friends in this unit. Some of our go-to sentence frames include:
- _______ has the greatest number of _______.
- _______ has _______ more _______ than _______.
- _______ had the least number of _______ with _______.
- _______ has _______ fewer _______ than _______.
- There would need to be _______ for there to be a new winner.
- There are _______ more _______ than _______.
- There are _______ (number) _______ altogether.
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