My Take on 3rd Grade, Unit 1

Unit 1 for our Round Rock 3rd graders is titled, “Summarizing and Analyzing Data Using a Variety of Old and New Data Displays” which is very much reflective of the Focus TEKS for this unit.

Collect and Display Data:
3.8A summarize a data set with multiple categories using a frequency table, dot plot, pictograph, or bar graph with scaled intervals; and – R RC4

Solve Problems Using Data:
3.4A solve with fluency one-step and two-step problems involving addition and subtraction within 1,000 [with 1- and 2-digit numbers only in this unit] using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and the relationship between addition and subtraction; – R RC2
3.5A represent one- and two-step problems involving addition and subtraction of whole numbers to 1,000 [with 1- and 2-digit numbers only in this unit] using pictorial models, number lines, and equations; – R RC2
3.8B solve one- and two-step problems using categorical data represented with a frequency table, dot plot, pictograph, or bar graph with scaled intervals. – S RC4

On a personal note, I love that this unit has been moved to the beginning of the year! Students always enjoy collecting data about themselves, their families, and their friends, and this unit should lend itself to some great conversations that will allow students and teachers to begin making those valuable connections between their lives. Of course, it’s also awesome that teachers will be able to pull these skills in repeatedly during science throughout the year. Great suggestion, teachers!!

The most important ideas I would want my students to get out of this unit are

  • Data can be collected and analyzed many different ways
  • There are different types of data that require different types of graphs
  • Collecting and organizing data into graphic representations can help us efficiently solve problems.

I would start the unit by previewing graphs students have previously seen and used in 1st and 2nd grade, then allow a few days for students to collect some different types of data and create graphs using that data, utilizing frequency tables as a collection tool each time. Then I would have students use the data they already collected and turn it into a dot plot, after modeling what this is and how I could use it for my own data. I would hope that some of the students’ data would lend itself to using dot plots while others may not. This situation could give us a great platform for discourse and a discussion about how we decide which graph to use for a particular set of data.

Along the way and throughout the data collection and analyzing using graphs, I would ask students to think about what they wonder when they look at other students’ graphs and slip in some computation problems about some of our class graphs each day. I’m thinking I would create a bank of questions to pull from including both one- and two-step addition and subtraction problems and some open-ended thought provoking problems such as

  • Which graph will best represent the data I collected? Why?
  • Is my data easier to read in a pictograph or a dot plot? Why?
  • How could I justify why I chose a bar graph to represent my data?

Hopefully, by beginning to ask some of these questions early in the unit, as we move through the unit, students will begin to use the same questions and really start to see why we summarize data using multiple categories, and also have a lot of fun along the way!!