Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sort Graphs into Types of Data

This is a simple and quick sorting activity for graphs to help introduce the idea of types of data. And although that is the intended purpose it is done as an open sort so that students can (hopefully) start to see that there are different types of data without being formally introduced to them. This is not intended to be a long activity but just a short Minds On type to begin a class. Keep in mind that if students don't sort them by data type then you may have to ask some leading questions to help move them that way. Though this was originally developed for the MDM4U class, by removing some of the graphs, it could be used for grades as low as 7 (for example, grade 7 students will likely not have seen histograms).

  • Gr7DM, Gr8DM - collect and organize categorical, discrete, or continuous primary data and secondary data
  • MBF3C - identify different types of one-variable data (i.e., categorical, discrete, continuous)
  • MDM4U - distinguish different types of statistical data (i.e., discrete from continuous, qualitative from quantitative, categorical from numerical, nominal from ordinal, primary from secondary, experimental from observational, microdata from aggregate data)
  • One set of graph cards per group

  1. put students in groups
  2. distribute cards with graphs 
  3. ask them to sort in any way they see fit. Use the results to steer towards types of data. Students should focus on both the look of the graph and the characteristics of the data being shown.
  4. possible leading questions: "Can you arrange these so that there are only two groups? If so can you arrange each of those two groups into sub groups?" 
  5. As an extension or alternate activity, students could sort by types of graph.
Note that the graph of the number of friends is a histogram which might lead some to think it is continuous data. This could be a good talking point as the number of friends a person can have can only be a discrete amount. 

Types of Data cards (doc) (pdf)

Did you use this activity? Do you have a way to make it better? If so tell us in the comment section. Thanks

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