## Snow Day Math: Data Management

We had our first Inclement Weather Day on Friday, November 1.  In my school, and I think this is true in many schools around here, we double up classes on a snow day.  Few children come those days and it’s a great chance for kids to try things out in another room, see old friends, and get to know or reacquaint themselves with a new teacher.  For a teacher it’s a great chance to get caught up on things. I worked on some necessary paperwork that has been bugging me. The teacher I partnered up with did some Running Records.

For the last 80 minutes of our day, my teaching partner and I had the students together.  We decided to have them gather data this year on Snow Days.  We wondered how many children were in the school that day, and what kind of information we could get from the numbers.  We sent teams of students to each classroom to ask how many students were in each homeroom that day. We then gathered together and reported our data.  We organized it all on a chart.  We had a great discussion about the numbers:  Which class had the most students? Which class had the least?  Which classes had the same?  We wondered if the numbers will stay the same for every snow day.  Were the numbers smaller than usual because it was the first snow day and the day after Halloween? We noticed that some of the older classes didn’t have many children in them and the younger classes generally had more.

We even calculated the total number of students in the school. My grade 3 students were able to do this!!  We had a great conversation about a strategy for adding up 20 numbers.  I think they’ll be able to do this independently next time…or nearly independently anyway.  I suppose that depends on how long we wait until the next inclement weather day.  I’m thinking now that we should figure out what percentage of the student population came that day.  We were a group of grade 1, 2 and 3 students, so percentages are above our curriculum expectations. However, I bet I can procrastinate house keeping for a few more hours by figuring out how to make some circle graphs of this data.  They should certainly be able to read those.

Our plan is to do this every time we have a snow day, then compare the data over a long period of time.  I wonder what trends we will see!   I’m excited to share this data with the children who were not in school on Friday and see what they notice about the data.

## #WODB

I wrote back in August about a great book I wanted to use during the first two weeks of school.  It’s called “Which One Doesn’t Belong” and is written by Christopher Danielson.  (You can read about that here.)

Today was an inclement weather day, meaning the busses were all cancelled.  It was our second in a row, and we have actually had a lot this winter now that I am thinking about it.  I needed to spend about an hour doing an activity with a bunch of kids (grades 1, 2 and 3), over half of whom are not in my class on a regular day. Actually, probably 3/4 of them aren’t in my regular class. I decided to pull this book back off the shelf.

I explained the concept and read the first few pages.  I made sure that every child knew that on every page there would be 4 things, and they could think of at least one reason why three of those things would go to together, but one wouldn’t belong. I explained that there is not one right answer for each page, but what matters is justifying your own thinking so others can at least see what you mean, if not actually change their own mind.  It’s great math!  And it is also so interesting to see how children think.  I have been through this book a few times now, and I am always amazed at how they come up with answers and justifications that I haven’t noticed.

After, I challenged them to create their own using LEGO, two colour counters, attribute blocks, colour tiles, and poker chips (I got them cheap – over 1000 in lots of different sizes and colours at Value Village.  Best investment ever!)  Here are a few:

I took photos and we projected them on the whiteboard so we could share our thinking.  They LOVED it.   This one with the dominos really intrigued me.  I immediately saw kids doing some counting, but nobody used the counting in their answers.  I decided to take that one a bit further.  I wrote the totals on the board beneath each domino.

Several thought the 13 does not belong because they are all in descending order, but it is out of place.  Some thought the 12’s do not belong because they each have a twin and none of the others do.  Finally, several thought 9 does not belong because it is a single digit number (they actually said because it is less than 10 and the others are over, so I pointed out the single/double digit difference.)

It was a fun activity, and I think all of the students learned something!