1. Organising surveys to collect data

Pupils are often more interested in working with data that they have collected themselves – they know what the numbers are describing, and how the numbers came to be. In this section there are several suggested activities to get pupils collecting data. These surveys help the pupils to understand the concept of data collection and pupils are encouraged to continue collecting interesting data outside school.

Organising your class into groups so that everyone is able to contribute is important so that they are all able to participate. Whole class discussion can be used to share the data from the different groups.

Case Study 1: Using group surveys to gather data

Mrs Kazulu in Uganda decided to have a completely practical lesson and divided her class into three groups (if you have a big class you may need more groups) to engage in small classroom surveys to collect data (see Key Resource: Using group work in your class room [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   to help you). She chose surveys that were relevant to the pupils themselves asking one group to find out the number of siblings in their families and to record this in their exercise books, another to determine the number of letters in their names and the third to find the number of pupils from different districts in their class.

Mrs Kazulu drew a template like the one shown in Resource 1: Tally chart and suggested each group had a similar one. She gave them time to copy her chart and then asked them to work one group at a time going round the class and asking how many siblings they had for example.

They went in pairs to ask each pupil their questions. All groups later shared their data and were asked to display it in the classroom. Mrs Kazulu would use the data collected in future lessons.

Activity 1: A whole-class survey

Before you begin show your class how to do a tally. (See Resource 1). Ask them why this might be a useful technique.

Discuss with your class about their birthdays and then ask them also to suggest the best way to organise the list of the different months of the year. Then ask each pupil to call out the month of his or her birth and let each pupil record this information as it is being called out.

Next ask one pupil for each month to count up the birthdays and put in the total.

You may extend this work by setting an individual homework task, such as to survey the favourite sport or drink of family or friends. Next lesson, discuss what the data tells you. Ask your class to think of other data they could collect like this and let them have another go at practising these skills?

What other ways could you organise your pupils to collect such data?

Section 3: Discussing data

2. Interpreting and creating charts in groups