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# Visualizing Mathematical Ideas With Technologies (page 3)

By D. Jonassen|J. Howland|R.M. Marra|D. Crismond
Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall

### Tinkering With Data Sets

Data analysis and interpretation of statistics are key skills, according to standards published by the NCTM. The Technical Education Research Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, created a simple-to-use database program called TableTop to support database construction and analysis by school-age children (Hancock, Kaput, & Goldsmith, 1992). Tabletop works with existing databases or with databases students create themselves. Data are visually represented by mobile icons that can be arranged into box plots, cross tabulations, histograms, scatter plots, and Venn diagrams. Students develop mathematical understanding of attributes, logical relationships, place value, and plotting and learn to perceive the stories and patterns that lie within the data they collect.

TableTop has been replaced by new data visualization software called TinkerPlots (http://www.umass.edu/srri/serg/projects/tp/tpmain.html). Developed with a grant from the National Science Foundation at the University of Massachusetts, TinkerPlots is data visualization software for grades 4 to 8 that enables students to see different patterns and clusters in statistical data. Students begin by asking a question that requires a prediction or inference (see chapter 3). They collect data (e.g., shoe size and height), assign units to the data (e.g., size and inches), and then represent the data graphically in many ways. With all the data points on a graph, students can group them in clusters, sort them by amount or other sequence, and display them in a seemingly infinite variety of formats. Students are able to use rich data sets or generate their own data sets based on problems they invent and construct their own graphical displays to help them solve the problem. Students learn to reason with data.

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