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NumberFix: Math/Writing Lesson based on the Scaredy Squirrel Series
 

A Writing Across the Curriculum Lesson from NumberFix
Math Topic: collecting data Students Write: complete sentences about class data

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Are You a Friend
For Me?

writing about data in primary math classrooms

This writing across the curriculum lesson was written by NumberFix Coordinator, Holly Young, who designed it for first grade learners. Check out Holly's Making Mathematicians website.

This lesson was proposed to NumberFix using this template. If you have a math/mentor text lesson you'd like to have published, fill out the template and send it to Holly Young, our NumberFix Coordinator: HYoung@washoeschools.net. We'll send you an NNWP Print Publication if we post your lesson here!

Lesson Overview & Objective:

Students pose a question to ask their peers, gather data in a variety of ways, represent the collected data, and write a sentence summary of data. The lesson should be spread out over several days, taking approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes to completely teach.


Essential Understandings for this Lesson:

  • I can make up a question to ask students in this class.
  • I can show the answers to my question so that everyone can see how we ALL answered.
  • I can write an interesting sentence about the answers that I collected.

Writing skills to stress while teaching this lesson:

  • Idea Development (writing with a clear, central idea or theme in mind)
  • Conventions (spelling skills; punctuation skills; capitalization skills)

Materials List:


Setting the Stage:

Students should have already had some lessons on making and keeping friendships with fellow students.


Teacher Instructions:

  • Read the "I cans..." (from the poster or overhead) outloud.
  • I asked the students to discuss with a shoulder partner “What makes you decide that a person could be your friend?” After we discussed qualities of good friends, I read Scarredy Squirrel Makes A Friend by Mélanie Watt to the class. I pointed out the page where Scarredy shows his “good friend” survey.
  • After reading the book, students were asked to go back into groups and discuss what question they would ask another person to see if they would make a good friend. I walked around the classroom and checked with each group, guiding them to ask questions that would lead to interesting answers. For example, one group wanted to ask, “Do you like pizza?” and I asked them to think about how people would answer. They came to the conclusion that most people would say, “Yes!” I asked them to see if there would be a more interesting question about pizza. One student then came up with, “What kind of pizza do you like?” I only allowed yes/no questions if they were unusual. Another question that I steered the students away from was, “Would you be my friend?” We discussed how some people could get their feelings hurt by the answer.
  • Once each group settled on a question, I asked one student in the group to write the group question on a Post-it® Note-sized template. We then shared our questions with the class. I then asked each group to predict what answers they would get from the class once they asked their question to everyone.
  • Next, I passed out the graphic organizer to each student. Everyone wrote his/her group’s question at the top. We discussed capitalization and punctuation before and after we wrote. I then designated the strongest student in each group to gather data from their group and record it on their paper. NO ONE else did any writing. I modeled writing individual responses to a different question on the board. When each group had their own results to the question, I showed how I used my data on the board to predict what I thought the whole class would answer when asked. I showed the students how to use data and evidence to make a decision. For example, my question was, “What is your favorite time of day?” In my box on the board I wrote:

Afternoon

Morning

Night

Morning

Night

Night

Morning

Morning

Morning

Afternoon

When we predicted out, the students and I discussed that the time of day that would occur the most would be “morning” because it was the most in our small group, which is a reasonable predictor for the class. Because I taught this lesson in a class of 32 first graders, I actually chose the method for collecting the data from all students, but in a smaller class, I would ask the students for strategies to get answers from all students. In the large class, I chose a student from each group and put them in a new group. They each took turns and asked everyone else their question and recorded the answers on their paper. We had to discuss not recording themselves, because their group already had their answers.

  • When the students returned to their original groups, I told them that they were going to have to represent all of their data in a way that would easily show everyone how the class answered. We looked back at my data on the board and we brainstormed as a class how I could represent it. The students came up with tallys, numbers in columns, bar graphs, and showing quantities. I modeled each method with my data for them. I told the students to discuss what method they felt would work best with their information.
  • I passed out a fresh, blank graphic organizer to a different strong student in the group. They had to rewrite the question at the top and then take all the data and represent it on this new paper. We discussed how we would be able to know that we had all the data. We also discussed how the students had to work together as a team to get all the data coordinated and checked.
  • After looking at the finished data product, we discussed if the data matched the original predictions. We looked at the data and discussed surprises and revelations. We also talked about what makes the best prediction – when you are just guessing, or when you have data to help you decide.
Here is a variety of data from Holly's class of first graders:
(click on the images to view them in larger form)
  • Take each group’s data and make enough copies of each paper for another group to have one copy of someone else’s data. Each group looked at the new data and talked about what they noticed about it. On the board, I modeled writing an interesting summary sentence about the data that I saw. I asked students to discuss in their groups what sentences they could write about they data that they had.
Here are several data-inspired sentences from Holly's class of first graders:
(click on the images to view them in larger form)
   

 


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