After looking at a graph, students may find it difficult not to draw a conclusion. Since many of the groups will be creating on-going graphs, the act of analyzing the data will also be on-going. Depending on the level of the students working on the project, the teacher will need to model appropriate ways to extract conclusions from a graph.
In this lesson, the teacher must provide real-life examples of graphs in newspaper and magazine print form. With many examples of different types of graphs, the teacher will be able to address each of the curricular areas. Occasionally, printed graphs do not follow the same rules as are taught in school. The teacher should decide whether or not to address this issue. Students talk with each other during this activity because it will get them thinking more about analyzing graphs. After time has been given for dialogue and discussion, have groups present their discoveries to the rest of the group. If each group has different graphs, the teacher must plan a way that the whole class will be able to see each graph clearly during the presentation stage.
Reporting Project Results
The students will want to report the results in some way so that the focus groups will be able to see the data. Most notably, the students may want to consider displaying the same data set in multiple ways. The “National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards encourages teachers and students to explore multiple approaches and representations when engaging in mathematical activities.”
Thus providing a bar graph as well as a pictograph may encourage students from multiple grade levels and skill levels to understand and interpret the information.
An interactive bulletin board located in a convenient spot in the school is the ideal way to report results, especially since the goal is to promote physical activity -- classes will inadvertently want to compete to improve their physical activity. Another way to report the results would be for each group to create a project board (i.e. science fair-type tri-fold board). This type of board is ideal for any student group who needs to be able to transport their results to multiple locations in a school and even to a science fair.
Teachers should encourage students to present their findings to their classes as well as any focus groups who might be interested in the results. An ideal setting would be an assembly with the whole school where the students could present their results and have the greatest impact.
Steps 7 & 8. Finding an Answer or another Problem
Depending on each student group’s findings, their last step may differ. Some groups will find an answer to their hypothesis thus proving it correct or false. Other groups will find that their hypothesis only produces another problem. Either way, the teacher’s responsibility is to point out that the Scientific Method is usually an on-going process; very few times do scientists come to an end point in their research and experimentation. The idea for this unit is for students to learn appropriate ways to improve their health and well-being as well as a graphical way to analyze the improvement.