By Grade 4, students typically learn various ways to collect and organize data. In Grades 6 and up, students learn how to describe the data mathematically, using concepts such as mean, median, and mode. In this article, we review different ways to represent data and then compare different ways to describe the data.
- Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context by giving quantitative measures of center, such as median or mean. (Common Core: 6.SP.B.5.C, Florida B.E.S.T.: 6.DP.1.2)
- Draw picture graphs and bar graphs to represent a data set with several categories. Solve problems using information presented in the graphs. (Common Core: 3.MD.B.3; Florida B.E.S.T.: 3.DP.1.1)
- Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements. Solve problems using information presented in line plots. (Common Core: 4.MD.B.4; Florida B.E.S.T.: 3.DP.1.1 and 4.DP.1.1)
Collecting and Organizing Data
They may have already started to learn how to collect data using a tally chart. In a tally chart, the student separates categories into rows or columns, and each time one of the categories is counted, the student writes a tally mark to keep track of it. Every fifth tally mark is indicated with a diagonal line that intersects the previous four tally marks and makes it easy to count the total number of tally marks for the category.
Typically, a tally chart is used when several things are being counted at once, for example when collecting survey responses. If you have students from other countries, ask them if they know different ways to represent tally marks! For instance, students in France, China, and Brazil learn to indicate tally marks differently but still cluster them by fives. The tally chart below shows the results of a survey in which students identified the type of apple they like to have for a snack.
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