Data analysis may sound like a pretty fancy term for kindergarten, but this year, your child will get her feet wet with it. We’re not talking high-level statistics; we’re talking about asking simple questions, such as who likes cereal for breakfast and who likes pancakes, and then charting the results. This activity puts your kid in charge of her own survey! She’ll poll her relatives and friends, collect information, and then create a colorful chart to display her findings.
What You Need:
- Poster board
- Blank paper
- Friends and family members
What You Do:
- In the “real” world, surveyors collect data to answer questions for many purposes, such as the United States Census, conducted every ten years to learn more about the people living in America. Surveys help businesses, governments, and regular people answer questions. Ask your child to come up with a question she is interested in answering the people in her life. Possibilities might include: What is your favorite color? What is your favorite pet? What is your favorite fruit? What is your favorite sport?
- Now sit down with your child and brainstorm a list of 15-20 people she could ask to answer her chosen question. She can include grandparents, scout leaders, neighbors, friends, teachers, or anyone else in her life. Most people love being involved in surveys—it gives them a chance to voice their opinions. Make a list together of all the people she plans on surveying. If she’s able to write their names herself, let her do so. Otherwise, provide as much help as necessary.
- Begin collecting the information. An easy way to do this is to have your child draw a picture next to each person’s name that represents his or her response. For example, if their favorite color is red, she can make a red mark with her marker. If their favorite pet is a dog, she can draw a sketch of a dog next to their name.
- Once all the information has been collected, the next step is to find a way to display it! Using the poster board, design a chart listing all of the choices and the answers. One of the simplest ways to display data, which is very popular in kindergarten classrooms, is a bar graph. Here’s an example of what the results from a “Favorite Sport Survey” might look like:
Display the chart in a prominent position and be sure to let all the participants know how it all turned out. The result? Not only have you given your kid a cool way to work on math skills, but you just may have created a data junkie in the process: good news for the math ahead!
Latrenda Knighten has spent 19 years teaching in a variety of elementary school classrooms, from kindergarten through fifth grade. For nine of those years, she taught kindergarten. She also served as an elementary school math and science specialist. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.