Data-handling for beginners

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By Judith Harries

This article aims to provide some activities for children to gather and record information and present it in simple ways for others to understand, in other words – statistics for beginners.

Children are naturally curious, or even nosey, and enjoy finding out information about each other. Start with simple surveys. Move on to tally marks and bar charts as an easy way to start recording info. Creating pictograms and pie charts is even more exciting!

building blocks bar chart

Start with a yes/no survey

Give children a simple two way choice or yes/no question about something related to a topic you are exploring, for instance ‘Do you like gingerbread?’, ‘Do you like chocolate milk?’ or ‘Can you fasten your own coat? Print the question at the top of a strip of card. Divide the card into two columns, one for yes and one for no. Subdivide the columns into numbered sections, 1 – 20. Let children attach a clothes peg or a post it note with their name written on to the side they answer. Can they tell you how many people like gingerbread? How many children can fasten their own coat?

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