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Katie Edney
Elementary Math Methods
Dr. S. Wood
16 February 2015
Peer teaching: Developing Concepts of Data Analysis
Elementary school students are aware of statistics around them through many different means
including advertising, sports, and even trips to the dentist or doctors office. Even though
fundamental understanding of the concept is limited, there is still some prior knowledge to what
data is. Students begin their meaningful understanding of data analysis beginning in pre-K and
develop this concept onwards. At the primary level, students begin to understand how data is
categorized and represented in various graph, chart, and table forms. There are 6 big ideas
outlined in Van de Walles chapter Developing Concepts of Data Analysis, they are:
1. Statistics is its own field, different from mathematics; one key difference is the focus
on variability of data in statistical reasoning
2. Doing statistics involves a four-step process; formulating questions, collecting data,
analyzing data and interpreting results.
3. Data are gathered and organized in order to answer questions about the populations
from which the data come. With data from only a sample of the population,
are made about the population.
4. Difference types of graphs and other data representations provide different
information about the dat and, hence, the population from which the data were
The choice of graphical representation can affect how well the data are
communicated to
5. Measures that describe data with numbers are called statistics. The use of a particular
graph or statistic can mediate what the data tell about the population.
6. Both graphs and statistics can provide a sense of the shape of the dat, including how
spread out or how clustered they are. Having a sense of the shape of data is
having a
big picture of the data, rather than just a collection of numbers.
In relation to the Grade 3 New Brunswick curriculum, this chapter was extremely helpful in
further understanding the primary student perspective and how to guide their learning to create
meaningful connections with the material at hand. This chapter reiterates the importance of
differentiating the data collection process and providing options for students that work best for
the meaningful questions that each student has (ie: understanding the methods that go along
best with categorical data or numerical data). Lastly, this chapter reiterates the important
emphasis about how data is apart of our daily lives and the recommended literature listed at the
end of this chapter provides a great reference list to show how literature, science, and social
studies are linked with data analysis.

Grade 3
Time: 50 minutes
This lesson will be taught as an investigative lesson that will elaborate the importance and
purpose of questioning and collecting data in an organized fashion. The lesson will begin by an
explore activity where each student will write their shoe size on a sticky note. The teacher will
have a bulletin board in the classroom designated for the creation of a series of charts, lists and
plots (tally marks, line plot, class chart, and class list) that will represent the data collected. Next,
students will review the data collection process by going over previous lessons on questioning,
surveying, and data representation. Last, the students will be introduced to their own data
booklets which will be used to complete a data analysis process. Students will be assessed
formally based on understanding, participation, and exit question.
Outcomes and Standards
Content Standard: Data Analysis and Probability
Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant
data to answer them:
- design investigations to address a question and consider how data-collection methods
affect the nature of the data set;
- collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments;
- represent data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs;
- recognize the differences in representing categorical and numerical data
New Brunswick Curriculum Outcomes
GCO: Statistics & Probability (SP): Collect, display and analyze data to solve problems.
SCO: SP1: Collect first-hand data and analyze it using:
- tally marks
- line plots

- charts
- lists
to answer questions.
- Statistics and Probability bulletin board
- Post-it notes
- Smart board lesson
- Data collection booklets
- Extension activities
- Students will begin the class by being introduced to the lessons Survey of the Day warm-up
- First, students will be asked to write their shoe size onto a sticky note given to each student by
the teacher. Next, they will gather in front of a bulletin board designated for the Statistics and
Probability unit where there will be an empty line plot that is divided into shoe sizes and halfsizes. Students will place their sticky notes on the line plot. Last, the teacher will facilitate the
creation of a tally mark chart with the help of the class.
- Teacher will reinforce the importance and purpose of organization while making both the line
plot and the tally mark chart.
- Note: It is easier to read the plot when the sticky notes are in neat columns, and that it is
easier to read tally marks when they are in groups of 5s rather than a bunch of individual
- Gather students in front of Smart board for a review on the data collection process:
questioning, surveying, collecting, and representing.
- First, review how a proper question should be formulated. Ensure that students understand
that questions should be relative to their lives at school, at home, or in their communities to
create a meaningful process. The data collected from these meaningful questions is called
first-hand data.
- Note: As a teacher, allow your students the opportunity to formulate their own questions and
guide their own learning process. Encourage students with guiding questions that will help
curb their ideas if they are off track. Example: If a student wants to know how many houses on
their street, you may ask if they would count apartment buildings, unfinished houses, etc in
their data collection (van de Walle, 430).
- Next, review how to properly create a tally mark chart, line plot, and other forms of charts and
lists. Enforce that organization and neatness is essential to properly collecting data.

- Review the difference between categorical and numerical data. Categorical data is information
collected that can be grouped by labels (favourite vacations, colours, etc). Numerical data is
information collected that can be counted by measuring and counting (height of students,
temperature, etc).
- Remind students that there are measures of data representation that are easier for categorical
data and for numerical data. Line plots are generally more useful when you have a numerical
- Lastly, remind students that the purpose of data collection is to answer questions or solve a
problem. This can be done in the form of predictions or questions afterwards. Example: After
collecting data on students favourite colours, one may be curious if gender has anything to do
with the results.
- Students will be introduced to their data collection booklets where they will pose a question,
create a tally mark chart, line plot, and a list or other chart that can represent data.
- Students should be guided to pick a question that has to do with their lives and curiosities at
- Students will be given 20 minutes to begin work on their booklets.
- Students will be assessed formally by walking around the classroom and monitoring students
progress on their booklets. Teacher will look for students understanding of:
- Answer questions using collected data
- Organize a given set of data using tally marks, line plots, charts or lists.
- Answer questions arising from a given line plot, chart, or list
- Collect and organize data using tally marks, line plots, charts, and lists
- This activity is going to be used as a formative assessment that will lead the teacher to
understand what material must be further reviewed.
- Exit question: Students will be shown a line plot that represents the school staffs favourite
colours. They will be asked to identify which colour is the most popular and the least popular.
Van de Walle, J.A., Folk, S., Karp, K.S., & Bay-Williams, J.M. (2011). Elementary and middle
school mathematics: Teaching developmentally (3rd ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada.
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2009).
Mathematics Grade 3 Curriculum. Retrieved from:
Appendix A:

Retrieved from: