I love this unit! It challenges students to demonstrate “competence” in a number of traditional skills, and then invites them to purposely put their own spin on the data, and decide what is important to communicate. Next, they make a graphical presentation which communicates “their” point about the data. It demonstrates a number of competencies, and the process and subject invites connections within our community, and it also allows higher order thinking.
In the process, the students have formed a valid survey–and experienced how to keep the preschoolers from saying whatever the person before them said, or what to do if they just refuse to talk…and how to explain to the K’s what “favorite kind of movie” means, and how to come up with a few categories that cover the wide range of things we think of when someone says “candy.” That last was a particularly fine discussion!
Each student was to form a valid question, anticipate the nature of the data he or she would collect, and create a colorful and understandable prompt sheet to use during the survey. Pre-primary students were often particularly interesting communication partners during the actual surveys!
After tallying the data, each student entered it into Excel spreadsheets and produced a traditional bar graph or pie chart using that program.
Looking at the results, the student was then asked to find a point that he or she wanted to communicate about the data. For example, one student chose to emphasize the fact that we come from a large number of school districts, rather than highlighting which district supplied the most students. His display became a single school bus, divided into more than a dozen different colored stripes, each color representing a different school district.
We printed the resulting graphics out large, as part of a “who we are” display.
Here are a few samples of the final information graphics:
Willing’s image made a great poster, and he labeled each sports symbol with the number of people who said that sport was their favorite. He decided he did not want to highlight the percentage of the total number of responses for each sport. He imported clipart into a word processing program and changed the page size to be twice as long as normal. We printed it out 4 feet long!
Aidan worked in our photo editing program, and wanted to make the point that, as he says, we love chocolate! His sense of humor comes through, too!
Cassidy did a great job communicating her survey results. Each color strip is labelled with the exact percentages, and even young students can gather that summer had a slight edge. This made a very attractive poster. Cassidy used clip art, imported it into a picture editing program, sliced and colored it, and then imported the new graphic into a word processor.