# Bringing Math Home: A Parent's Guide to Elementary School Math : Games + Activities + Projects

By Suzanne L. Churchman | Go to book overview

5

Data Analysis
and Probability

It has been said that we are living in the Information Age. Often, the information we receive today is obsolete within a year, and sometimes even by the following week. It is therefore essential that children be taught to collect information or data on their own, so that they can answer questions whose solutions are not rote or obvious. Because there is a glut of information out there, they also need to be able to analyze data to understand its meaning and validity. Of equal importance, children need to be able to make inferences and predictions from information in order to make decisions for themselves. To that end, children need to learn that they can gather information from a variety of places—not only from books, television, and the Internet, but also from various types of graphs, charts, and tables.

Once again, the best method for youngsters to learn these concepts is by doing. Children start making surveys, collecting data, and making graphs, charts, and tables using real objects as early as kindergarten. As they progress through the grades, their analysis of data and its representations becomes more and more sophisticated.

In terms of evaluating data, children also need to learn to make judgments about an event's probability of happening. In the lower grades, today's schools informally introduce children to the concepts through the playing of games that use spinners and dice. Upper grade students learn to make judgments about an event's chances of occurring as being likely or unlikely, or to give numerical odds for an event—for example, a 1-in2 chance, or a probability of 50⁄50.

Children need to develop independent-thinking skills to successfully navigate the ocean of ever-changing data and information that has become part of our daily existence. Your child's ability to analyze data and probability is a necessary skill for him or her to become an independent thinker. You can be the guide to teach your child to question, evaluate information, make judgments, and think for him or herself. It is not necessary for you to have all the answers to your child's questions. It is all right to say, [I don't know. Let's find out.] Make the quest for solutions with your child and teach by example.

-129-

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Bringing Math Home: A Parent's Guide to Elementary School Math : Games + Activities + Projects

• Title Page i
• Acknowledgments iii
• Contents iv
• Introduction v
• How to Use This Book vii
• Content Standards 1
• 1: Numbers and Operations 3
• 2: Algebra 35
• 3: Geometry 57
• 4: Measurement 97
• 5: Data Analysis and Probability 129
• Process Standards 155
• 6: Problem Solving 157
• 7: Reasoning and Proof 173
• 8: Communication 181
• 9: Connections 189
• 10: Representation 195
• Summing It Up 201
• Appendix 203
• Glossary 223
• Bibliography 229
• Index 230
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