The instant creation of graphs and charts from spreadsheets in various styles
reduces the tedium of drawing and coloring and lets us get right to
the exercise of selecting, interpreting and querying data.
(We use the Microsoft WORKS program in our computer lab
for this activity.)|
DATA COLLECTION, SPREADSHEET ENTRY
Third grade students discuss and choose a suitable subject in
conducting a poll of their classmates; their choice is "Favorite Sports."
Students are polled, the votes are counted and at each computer in the
lab a child creates a spreadsheet listing the names of each sport and
the votes received. These values are in Column B, the "Mrs. W" column,
on the spreadsheet section shown here.
CREATING THE CHART, MAKING QUERIES
By highlighting columns A and B then clicking on "TOOLS," "CREATE A CHART" and the bar graphic, a bar graph, as shown at right, is made. Now that each student in the lab is looking at the same graph we develop such queries as, Which is most favorite? (swimming). Least favorite? (four sports). Are there equal favorites? (two sets). Alternatively, take the "JEOPARDY" approach such as asking "For what question is "baseball, soccer and one other" the correct answer?"
MAKING THINGS MORE INTERESTING..
This activity so far, using one series of results, is
interesting but rather limited. Frequently the graph is superfluous,
answers could just as easily be found from the table of numbers without
using the graph. We decide to increase the complexity by getting more data.
Off we go to the other third grade classes and tally their preferences.
We record the new results in columns C and D of the spreadsheet and create
the new bar graph showing all three classes - it's much more interesting!
The teacher can now ask more complicated questions, e.g.:
Whose class is the squash player in?
Whose class likes tennis least?
What is the total number of votes for soccer?
Which sport received a total of four votes?
In all of third grade is basketball more popular than hockey? ...and so on.
TURNING THE QUERIES OVER TO THE STUDENTS...
So far the teacher has been the one creating the questions.
Now for a true group activity, have the students create questions for each
other to answer while the teacher takes a rest.
Using birthdays find out which months will be most expensive
in terms of buying birthday gifts.
Easy creation of graphs from spreadsheets permits rapid
comparisons of graphing style choices, "number pictures" which look so
different yet all derive from the same numbers.
WORLD WIDE WEB
Interesting sports-related web sites for children:
The "Minutes from ME" Archives