How to learn about the Census with 7&8 year olds

It seems that every year when it comes time to ‘learn statistics’ we would survey the class and they would survey each other and the the data would be drawn into bar graphs and line graphs and pie charts and Excel graphs and colour pencils and Felt tip pens would add to the aesthetics  Words like sample and data and tally chart would all be part of the learning.

photo (43)

This year there was a change and an opportunity.  the opportunity was the news on Monday morning that a lady visited with a piece of paper to colour in called a centus (after a very quick discussion it was a form to fill out and called a census) and secondly we had been playing with the creation of Google forms.  Our first Google Form was shared with over Google+ and Twitter and was filled out by over 150 people; we learned things like…

  • 6% of the world do not like to read.
  • 3% live in a house boat.photo (46)
  • No one is older than 69

…and lots of other facts that we eventually decided we not actually facts because our sample was not broad enough.

We talked about the census and why we have one and why it is important that it happens every few years and then one child asked if we could do one at school.  I replied “Why?” and then “How could we do that” and that set the challenge for them.

Through brainstorms, group discussions, voting and a Google form created on the IWB we came up with a survey or census that we were going to ask the whole school.  The reason why we would ask the whole school is so that our data would be real and be able to tell us something about our school like amount of boys in comparison to girls or ways we get to school and so on.

So then began the logistics and disruption (I love the word disruption when referring to learning) of taking a Netbook loaded with the survey into classes or under trees or where ever to survey the students.  We decided pairs so one could ask the student and one could record the answers.

It took a day to get around the 7 classes and we have missed a few kids, but the discussions and connections that were made by both the interviewers and interviewed were brilliant. The way they supported 5 year olds, and proved their ability to 11 year olds, built their confidence and the growth in the classes explanation and oral language was worth it alone.

Now that we have the data, it will be tomorrow challenge to take meaning from it and hopeful get some ideas of possible actions that could be taken as a result like consuming of fruits and vegetables or modes of transport to school, but that will be the kids
connections to make in the morning.census3

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