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Graphing Summer Data

Graphing is a great summer project to do with your kids that can involve the whole family and take place over time.
on August 05, 2014

Graphing is a great summer project to do with your kids that can involve the whole family and take place over time.  Every summer, my family and I pick a few topics that we want to monitor and chart over an extended period of time.  Then each child chooses how they want to represent the data and presents it at a graphing family night!

There are so many topics to choose from, and half the fun is coming up with the data to collect.  As a family, brainstorm different ideas and formulate a list of topics.  Here are some to help you get started:

 Numerical Data Categorical Data Number of pages read each day Number of shells collected at the beach Number of family trips Number of laps swam in pool Number of dives off the diving board Number of camp days Miles biked Favorite summer activities Favorite summer sports Favorite BBQ food Favorite fruit Favorite camp activity Ways to get to camp Weather

Depending on the age of each child, create a table so data can be collected daily, bi-weekly, or weekly.  Try to create a routine for when the data will be filled out, in the morning or before bed. The great thing is that it is quick and easy but the responsibly should be put on the child(ren).  Decide how the data will be collected.  For numerical data, each child will most likely chart something he or she has done, but for categorical data they can ask others for their opinions. Bringing their table to camp or a family event is a great way to collect the data.

Once the data has been collected, each child (or family member) must decide how s/he will represent and graph the data.  Older children might want to use the computer and input the data into Excel.  Younger children might want to draw or color in a graph or use a physical representation (such as cheerios or pasta).  Allowing them to be creative and come up with the graph on their own is the best experience.

At the end of the summer, we have a graphing family night for everyone to represent their graphs.  Each child shows off their graph and has created questions for the rest of the family to answer.  We talk about all the things we have done over the summer and what information we have learned from their graphs.  It's always a big deal when you can make a party out of it!

Scholastic Parents is a trusted source of expert advice on reading and learning. In the Learning Toolkit blog, get quick and easy tips on how to support your child’s learning at home. From playing a fun game of creating new words during dinner to solving bedtime math stories and using easy tricks to try with homework problems, this blog offers simple suggestions for supporting your child’s development at every age and every stage.

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