This week’s blog comes to us from Ashley Kraft, our 4th Grade Head Teacher. Math can be a challenging subject for students any age; in this blog you’ll see how we make mathematical concepts clear and meaningful by asking students to collect and analyze data in a variety of ways.
4th Graders engage in the world of data and begin to learn concepts such as mean, median, mode, and range. They approach this investigation in two ways – both by interpreting data displayed in a variety of forms, and also by collecting and analyzing their own data.
Some ways students have seen data displayed include in a tally chart, line graph, picture graph, bar graph, and line plot.
Using their knowledge of multiplication and division, students began to find the mean, or average, of a set of data. In order to apply these skills to real life problems, they were assigned to measure arm lengths and heights of everyone in the class.
They then displayed this information in a table. After looking at the information, students were able to answer questions about the data, including making comparisons and identifying outliers. They were also asked to find the mean (average) arm length and height.
Students were given the opportunity to explore probability by engaging in hands-on activities using real life data. After learning what probability was and the equation to solve for the probability as a fraction, students were given a prompt to solve using materials in the classroom.
Students were split into groups. Each group was given a bag full of 10 red connecting cubes, 5 yellow, and 15 blue. Group members took turns drawing a connecting cube from the bag, recording tally marks for the color they chose, and then returned the cube back to the back. They did this for a total of 20 turns.
After recording the data in the tally chart provided, students were asked to draw a line plot to represent the data.
They then had to find the probability of drawing each of the three colored cubes. In order to find the probability, students listed the number of outcomes divided by the total number of possible outcomes. But, it didn’t end there. They were then asked to record each outcome on a fraction number line and tell whether the outcome was less likely, more likely, equally likely, impossible, or certain.
Students made connections with their recorded data and were able to explain why it was more likely for them to draw a blue cube from the bag, since there was the greatest amount of blue cubes to draw from. Real life situations and hands-on activities using manipulatives bring the world of math alive for students, and allows them to engage in a deeper understanding of the concepts.
This exploration reinforced concepts learned by providing opportunities for students to record the outcomes before describing the likelihood of each outcome.