Magazine article Teaching Children Mathematics

Graphers

Magazine article Teaching Children Mathematics

Graphers

Article excerpt

One data-gathering activity I enjoy is to examine students' favorite cookies. To make a visual representation of the information, we used the Graphers program on a large monitor. With this program, six types of graphs and a frequency table are available: pictograph, bar graph, circle graph, loops (Venn diagrams), grid plot, and line graph. The most useful quality of this program is its flexibility.

We used the data maker to enter our information, changing labels as necessary. For example, we preferred "Oreo" to "sandwich cookie." Each student clicked on his or her favorite cookie, which made the cookie appear in the work area. We sorted and counted our cookies. Then, with a click of the mouse, we created a pictograph. The flexibility began to be revealed. This pictograph was viewed horizontally and vertically. Sometimes items were stored on the shelf so that they were still available for later use but did not appear on the current graph. Dotted lines were added to display rows and columns. The count of each item was shown at the top of the column, along with a count axis to the left of the pictures, then both together. Bars were drawn around columns, and the labels were switched from pictures to words and back again. The columns were arranged from largest to smallest, reversed, and then alphabetized.

We looked at the data as a bar graph, data table, and circle graph. An ongoing discussion involved which type was best and why. …

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