Data Management

Which is your favourite?

Halloween is a great time to gather some data and manage it. There’s so much candy to sort!

In my ongoing effort to do things like surveys and graphs in a regular basis instead of as a separate unit, I planned to ask everyone about candy today. I already knew that everyone could come up with a “What is your favourite _____?” Or “Which _____ do you like best?” question. I decided to change the question. Instead, I told the class that I think all candy falls into 5 categories: chocolate, gummies, hard candy (lollipops and Jolly Ranchers), gum and liquorice. Nobody fought me on this. I’m just realizing now we could have had quite the debate about this. Where, for example, would Laffy Taffy and Starburst fit? And what about Reese’s Pieces? But nobody thought of those until just now!

Because I was asking which candy they liked, they could answer more than once. Only voting once is always tricky for kids with a question like this because they like so many things. And, I explained, I actually don’t like liquorice but am willing to accept that some people might.

Here are our results, tallied and then graphed:

We counted the chocolate tallies. As I tallied the gummy votes, someone pointed out that gummy and chocolate were the same. We talked about how we could tell without counting, which was actually a revelation to several students. However, they noticed it on their own for hard candy and gum. I’m glad we could talk about this one-to-one correspondence because it will come up again when we start talking about multiplication.

Since we have 22 students, and only one was away, we had to figure out who didn’t like some of the candies. We talked about how many people were not voting for each candy categories. Finally, we talked about how just because I don’t like liquorice doesn’t mean I shouldn’t buy it for them. (Nice of me, right?)

I’m going to add this to our math walk tomorrow. I want it up to remind everyone about organized data, and how it’s so much easier to follow along with than the other kind (haphazard tallied scattered abroad.). By the end of the month I want everyone to be able to come up with a good question and gather data. We’ll mostly be doing this during social studies as we begin our study of world communities.