Friday, April 20, 2012

Weekly Class Summary: Apr. 16-20

SOLs Covered: 6.14 Graphing Data & Data Analysis
Math Dictionary Sections: (27) Graphical Methods
Upcoming Assessments: Graphing & Data Analysis Quiz (Mon. 4/23); "You Can Do It!" Quiz #3 (Fri. 4/27)

After returning from a refreshing Spring Break, we kick-started our graphing and data analysis unit. We went over what students remembered from elementary school with KWL charts. This prompted students with some very interesting questions to add to the "W-Want to Know" column after seeing what some of their classmates remembered, my favorite common question being along the lines of "when do we use each type of chart/graph" or "which is the best chart/graph" since those are major parts of this learning standard.

These questions merged nicely with our first activity that reviewed frequency tables. Using the ♪Lollipop♪ song by the Chordettes, students used the table to track how many times certain parts of the song (i.e. Lollipop, POPS!, etc) occurred throughout the song. After going through the song twice, we discussed the advantages to using the frequency table to gather the data instead of trying to remember how many times everything happened. We then looked at various sample surveys as presented in other tables and continued our discussion on which graphs could then be constructed using the data compiled in each table. Tables dealing with categorical or discrete data can easily be turned into bar graphs and even circle graphs (aka pie charts). Though many of the students remembered both graphs from elementary school, the circle graph is considered a "new" graph since 6th grade is the first year students are responsible for knowing/understanding percents. While discussing both bar and circle graphs, we went over the advantages behind using each: both can show us the commonality of the different categories (most, least, etc), bar graphs shows the exact value, circle graph shows the size of each value. We also discussed line graphs and how they are better for continuous data: showing trends, how things change over time, for things that can taken any value within a range.

As we covered circle graphs, we reviewed fractions and percents and how both related to the graph. Students were shown how to use certain easy fraction/percent benchmarks to interpret graphs and dissect the data (1/2=50%, 1/4=25%, 1/8=12.5%, and 1/16=6.25% ). For example, if one section on a circle graph for favorite ice cream flavor were 1/2 or 50% chocolate and whole the graph represents 20 people, half of the people (10) chose chocolate. Though 6th grade students shouldn't need to delve too far into "yucky" fractions/percents (i.e. fractions with denominators greater than 16, percents with repeating decimals, etc), students should be able to use the previous benchmarks to estimate values for any circle graph they may need to analyze in the future. We'll start next Monday off with a review session before the kids take their graphing quiz to wrap up the unit.

Friday, students took the second "You Can Do It!" quiz, which as previously mentioned are being charted in the classroom. Since this year's Math 6 SOL test should have a passing score equivalent to about a 60%, the charts have "goal" points every six questions (for each of the five 10-question quizzes). Most of the goal points will come with fun rewards: 6, a freezer pop donated by Martin's Grocery Store; 18, a choice between a hat pass or a homework pass; 30 (or a pass on the real SOL test), field day and a snow cone; 42, a goodie bag; 45 (or an advance pass on the real SOL test), lunch and dessert. Students can hopefully earn all of the rewards and for any student who receives a perfect score on the actual SOL test, a $25 gift card will be awarded (county policy requires certain stipulations on the type of card given). Students are encouraged to do lots of studying and preparing on their own in order to get a great score on the state test and to earn all of these great rewards. This week we've also received the schedule for the test; though it is subject to change, the following schedule contains the expected testing dates for my students math, social studies, and language arts SOL tests:

Ms. Ball's Lang. Arts Ms. Lambert's Math Ms. Wallace's Soc.St.
May 22: Block 1 May 31: Block 1 May 31: Block 1O & 1E
May 23: Block 2 June 1: Block 2 June 1: Block 2O & 2E
May 24: Block 4 June 4: Block 4 June 4: Block 4E & 4O

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