Monday, October 15, 2012

Data Analysis for Investigative Reasearch

We have been classifying and sorting materials during our math workshop. We considered how the materials are similar and how they are different?  We defined the categories and establish the sorts. 

These buttons are small AND have four holes. 
These buttons are small, red AND do not have holes. 

The children began to realize that the buttons can be sorted by many attributes.

As we determined the parts of a tree, we decided that the systems we used to collect, categorize, sort and compare attributes in math would also work during investigative research.

We walked the grounds of the school and made decisions about the life we saw growing. What growth seemed to fit the criteria established by the class for a tree.We documented our trip and collected specimens

We met in our project circle to look at the pictures, touch and feel the specimens and begin the process of sorting and classifying.  

We also decided to play a game of Four Corners. Each corner was labeled with an attribute of a tree. The children selected a picture of  a tree in the garden, noted an attribute for the tree and then went to the designated corner with the picture. 

R. I could go to lots of corners with my tree.
D. Yeah my tree has all of it...branches, roots, leaves and bark.
N. I could jump between these two corners.

Mary and I wondered if there was a  way to arrange all of this information on a chart.

I: I've organized numbers on a chart.

J. The calendar is a chart.

A. We could put the roots, leaves, branches and bark on the top of the  chart. 

A chart is a visual approach and strategy for classifying the information. We dragged the chart around the campus as we made decisions and classified. The children became accustomed to the structure of the information and slowly seemed to glean information from it.


  1. Data analysis always seems to be one of the units that doesn't click quite as much for the children in thrid grade. I'm looking for more ways to connect it to the things that matter to them. If it is information that they care about or will help them make and authentic decision, it will make more sense. I like this connection between math and the investigation to find out what makes a real tree.