Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Questioning Data

Video Overview

Students in this lesson are working on two projects investigating data. For the first project, pairs of students choose a graph from a newspaper, write about it in their own words, describe its audience, and list questions they would like to ask the graph1s author. Students who have completed the newspaper activity work on the second project during class, which calls for individual students to conduct their own surveys regarding a question of personal interest. Students are to take the data they collected from these surveys, represent them in a graph they create, and write about what the graph interprets and the questions they still have about the survey subject. Some students use percents to make circle graphs, others make bar graphs, and still others use Venn diagrams. The lesson concludes with students sharing their results or work-in-progress with the class.

Topics for Discussion

The following areas provide a focus for discussion after you view the video. You may want to customize these areas or focus on your own discussion ideas.

Interpreting Graphs

1. In this lesson, students analyzed data on graphs from newspapers. How does this type of activity empower students to interpret and analyze data? Cite evidence that students were critical consumers of information.

2. What were the main issues that Ms. Darcy wanted students to address when interpreting the information on their graphs? What other issues would be important for students to consider?

3. How does this lesson expand students1 understanding of the world around them?

4. Identify the benefits of building lessons around graphs found in newspapers. What are some other sources for finding graphs that display real data?

5. How does analyzing real graphs prepare students to generate their own graphs? How else can you encourage students to think about displaying data in different ways?

6. Describe the types of graphs that students worked with in this lesson. What other types of graphs could have been included? Why?

Establishing a Learning Environment

1. What is the value of having students do independent or small-group research projects?

2. How did this lesson meet the needs of students in this combination classroom of grades 4, 5, and 6 with their varied levels of understanding and experiences?

3. Describe how Ms. Darcy provided and structured the time necessary for students to explore sound mathematics and grapple with significant ideas and problems. What else could have been done in terms of time management?

4. What evidence suggests that Ms. Darcy respects the students1 thinking and ideas and that students respect and are interested in one another1s ideas?

5. What are some ways that Ms. Darcy encouraged students to take risks and feel safe in expressing their ideas? Identify some ways to create this type of learning environment.

Extension

Student Data-Analysis Projects

Develop guidelines and procedures for initiating student data-analysis projects. Consider ways to help students (1) select topics and pose questions; (2) collect, organize, and analyze the data; (3) prepare a written report; and (4) present the findings. Also consider how you would evaluate the project and assess students1 understanding.