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Broadbent Maths - creative primary maths

Should the whole data handling cycle be part of every unit?

Within your planning, data handling (or statistics) is not taught as a discrete unit but is part of each unit. This gives the opportunity to use the data as a context for the teaching of number, calculation, shape and measures. So what about the data handling cycle? It is a good question, and something that certainly needs planning for.
The teaching of the different aspects of data presentation - tables, charts, diagrams, graphs etc can take place, when appropriate, within each 2-week unit. It is obviously important to make sure there are no gaps in the experiences the children have, so a knowledge of progression is important. This is why I have provided a detailed data handling progression chart and record sheet.

It is worth clarifying what this data handling cycle is.  It is also known as the 'statistical inquiry cycle' in New Zealand, the Middle East and other countries, with similar components to the data handling cycle. A mix of the two formed the basis of the data-handling process I used in my teaching and that Peter Patilla and I used when writing some data handling books for Longman:

1. Posing questions

2. Collecting information

3. Organising information

4. Displaying information

5. Interpreting information

Children need experience of going through the complete process when the opportunity arises, and I would say at leat 3 or 4 times a year. It may not actually happen in a maths lesson - whenever data is being gathered, organised, displayed and interpreted then the cycle needs reinforcing, whether in geography, science, English, or indeed, maths.

All 5 steps in the process will not always be relevant to the maths you are teaching. You may focus on interpreting graphs and charts to add a context to some work on decimals, for example, so the whole cycle is not necessary. However, with a problem-solving approach, you may start a lesson with a question which involves children going through the process of collecting information, displaying it in a table or chart and then interpreting it in relation to the initial question.

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