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Young children collect data every day. They note who has pink sparkly shoes and find out who will share the ball on the playground. Children will be interested in collecting data if the topic is important to them, such as recording their favorite color. Making sense of the data by analyzing it appropriately is one of the challenges of teaching science in early childhood. Mathematics is important to making observations, and graphing can help children see any patterns in data. Collecting data is part of National Science Education Standard A: Science as inquiry, abilities necessary to do inquiry.
A selection from Science and Children—January 2011
This interesting article describes in general why it is important to make graphs with young children. One specific lesson plan is about graphing favorite colors using colored rubber bands. Graphing with concrete objects before using tally marks helps young students conceptualize graphing.
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)
Even young children collect data about what they see around them. In this activity young children are introduced to quantitative data collection by learning how to use a tally chart to count things around them. After the activity described children can then verify that the data they have matches what they collected. Other items can be collected as well and children can reinforce the use of a tally chart.
Adah (San Antonio, TX)
The author is well known for her expertise in early childhood education. This article is about how to use tally charts with young children in order to collect data daily. The author reminds her readers that finding topics that are of special interest to the children may be half of battle of engaging them in minds-on, hands-on science activities.
Carolyn Mohr (Buffalo Grove, IL)
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