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 where the numbers came from. Surveys help 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. Whole-class discussion can be used to share the data the different groups have collected.

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 – see Key Resource: Working with large and/or multigrade classes [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ). Her pupils were going to undertake small classroom surveys to collect data. She chose surveys that were relevant to the pupils themselves, asking one group to find out the number of siblings in their families, another to find out 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 on the board. She gave her pupils time to copy her chart into their exercise books. She then asked them to work, one group at a time, going round the class and asking their survey questions in pairs.

Later, all groups shared their data and were asked to display it in some way 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 they think this might be a useful technique.

Explain to your class that they are going to do a survey about birthdays. Ask them to suggest the best way to organise the list of the different months of the year. Then go round the class, asking each pupil to call out the month of their birth and let each pupil record the 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 could extend this work by setting an individual homework task, such as to survey the favourite sport or drink of family or friends. In the 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