Weaving a Tapestry – Comparing Data Representations Take 2

As a quilter, I am fascinated by the intricate beauty inherent in fabric art.   Of late, I feel like my work must reflect that same kind of intricate weaving found in a beautiful piece of fabric.   I am trying to help my students see the threads linking the different ways that one can represent data.   While I always try to do that, I have been a lot more explicit with the comparing and contrasting of these representations.   First, I created a Tree Map (a Thinking Map that classifies information) for the ways to represent data.   I will write more about that in coming days.   Next, I created a foldable comparing and contrasting line plots, frequency tables, and histograms.   I wrote about that in a recent post (including a free downloadable version of the foldable      Comparing & Contrasting Line Plots Freq Tables Histograms).   Finally, I created a foldable comparing and contrasting bar graphs, circle graphs, and line graphs.

Comparing & Contrasting Graphs

My intent with this foldable was to help the students see the ways that these three graphs are similar and different.   I wanted them to focus on the kinds of data that each one represents (numerical vs. categorical).   I also wanted them to focus on the kind of information that the representation presents (frequency of a data item, percentage or part of a whole, or the change of one variable with respect to another).   I included a space for an example so they would have a visual representation (which they could also compare and contrast with the representations on the previous compare/contrast foldable).   Finally, I wanted them to focus on the specific common error points for each of the graphs.   My goal was to keep the structure of the foldable similar across the columns of the foldable so that students would read the foldable both vertically and horizontally.   I also tried to keep the basic structure similar to that used in the Comparing and Contrasting Line Plots, Frequency Tables, and Histograms so that they could use the two foldables to see additional connections.

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Life in Pieces – Comparing & Contrasting Line Plots, Frequency Tables & Histograms

Life in Pieces.   Thursday night TV but also how some of my students see math.    Some of them see the individual concepts but have a really hard time making the connections that tie it all together, they compartmentalize information and have trouble breaking out of the boxes they build.   Some of them need to see the connections to make sense of the details.   Either way, they are seeing “math in pieces” and not making enough sense.

I’ve been making a real effort to build bridges between those pieces, to help them see the connections.    As part of that effort, I wanted my students to see the similarities and differences between different data representations.   To that end, I created a foldable in which they had to compare and contrast line plots, frequency tables and histograms.

Comparing & Contrasting Line Plots Freq Tables Histograms

Usually, when we work with foldables, the kids focus on working down a column.   They see it as a category.  With this foldable, I encouraged students to also look across the columns, to think about the similarities and differences between the representations

I’m still working on figuring out how to help my students build the bridges, but this did seem to be an asset for my students.   They were able to successfully build all three representations on yesterday’s quiz.