Designing a Data Investigation

milkimagesIn Sally’s case 4 with 1st graders, the children begin to notice that the data from the morning’s question is not matching up with the representation taking place when forming two lines of students – yes or no line for milk.  The teacher and Sally Ask the students questions to help them figure out how to solve this issue.  They also approach the two students whose responses are in question and help them talk out the question and their answer.  The importance of formulating a specific question that can be addressed with data is being discussed.  The children questioning the data are not criticizing the other two students but rather trying to make the connection between the information recorded on the survey board and the accuracy of their representations.  And, one child is discussing his interpretation of the question and trying to qualify his answer.  It is embarrassing for the two children because they do not want to be “wrong” and certainly don’t want to be singled out.  These two issues are connected because they illustrate the need to have a specific measurable question that everyone can agree upon.  The purpose of connecting the data collection to the question/purpose is significant; students are learning to really consider the connections of the purpose of the investigation and the question design process.  Specifically, they

In Andrea’s case 6 with 2nd grade, the first two questions began a very broad questions and as the students discussed their trouble with interpretation, the question became more defined.  You could certainly word the questions in different ways to get different results depending on your specific questions.  I’m not absolutely sure what information Natasha wanted from the class; but she knew and just couldn’t find the words within her vocabulary and communication skills to verbalize this.  She wanted people to have a much stronger connection with visiting a state than just passing through or even just staying for a brief visit but couldn’t put her criteria into specific words.  She was not happy that she and Keith finally settled on asking students “How many states have you ever set foot in?”  This was not the information that Natasha cared about or was most interested in obtaining.

Katie, the author poses a very good question; as teachers, how do we help someone like Natasha reach a more agreeable outcome?  What can we do to help students create a specific question to generate certain information?  We want them to develop this skill, so do we just guide with questions or questions that lead in a specific direction?

 

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One thought on “Designing a Data Investigation

  1. One thing that I noticed, in the case with Natasha and Keith, is that the teacher doesn’t ask Natasha what it is that she’s trying to ask. Now, Natasha may not even know what she’s trying to ask but, her reaction at the end would indicate that she had some clue but didn’t get her way. I think, in this situation, the teacher needed to step in and ask what child wanted and hint in the direction of some questions that could be agreed upon by both student. I think, all in all, guiding questions will always lead somewhere, whether it’s where the student is suppose to go or not. If we see that a student is unable to use these methods of guidance or winds up in a completely different direction, then we should actively lead them in a specific direction.

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