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Broadbent Maths - creative primary maths

Teaching data handling creatively using graph stories

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Graph stories are a fun and open-ended way to explore continuous line graphs.  As you know, if you have heard me talk about maths planning, I feel that data handling in the primary curriculum is a tool or form of communication that can be used to support the teaching and learning in all the other maths topics. 

Just as you wouldn’t have a separate unit of maths on ‘Language’, I think that tables, charts, graphs and diagrams all give opportunities to add a context to your teaching of number, calculations, shapes, fractions and measures.
Bath graph
Download this Bath Time Graph to use with your class. 

Bath Time Graph Stories

Try this maths activity, it is an old favourite of mine.  It is appropriate for Y5 or Y6 and links very nicely to a unit with ‘Time’ as a focus. A good way to introduce the continuous nature of line graphs is to model one based on water filling a bath.

•  Start with no title or label and ask the class what they think it shows – anything is possible.

• Then put on the labels and ask them to try to tell the story of the line graph as talk partners.

Tip :  Make sure you talk about the scale on the axes and how this could change the picture, but not the story.

Graph stories

Now get your children to have a go at a making up their own graph stories from any blank graph. They can decide the information their graph is showing.

Draw your own graphs like these or, if you are a subscriber, use this worksheet.

For subscribers there is a blank bar graph that can be used for Years 2-4. It can be included in a topic on addition and subtraction

It is important to have a clear idea of the progression within data handling – the 2014 NC Programmes of Study helps a little with the statistics strand, but it is very light on detail.

For Planning Package subscribers there is a detailed Small Steps of Progression Chart and I have now provided a data handling record sheet, which will certainly help.

You need to make sure that you have that balance of breadth and depth (as usual) when planning data handling tasks.

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