Learner Express: Modules for Teaching and Learning
Students observe ladybugs and collect data in order to answer quantitative questions. They then compare and discuss answers as a class. Run Time: 00:04:13
In a bilingual team-taught class at the Ochoa Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, first-graders work in pairs to answer student-generated quantitative questions about ladybugs. With a magnifying glass to aid in observations, and chart paper to record findings, students attempt to verify how accurate their predictions are for the number of antennae, heads, mouths, feet, and wings. After these counts are recorded on individual charts, students write stories and number sentences about their findings. Their data is then placed on a class chart titled: "A Statistical Portrait of a Ladybug." With the class chart, students see how data about real life objects can be represented symbolically and numerically. Once the class chart is complete, students observe a discrepancy in the reported number of wings. The teachers facilitate a discussion that leads to a definitive number.
(Practice Standard)—In this lesson, Common Core Practice Standard—Construct viable arguments for conclusions reached and to critique the reasoning of others—is best exemplified. One characteristic of argumentation that can be overlooked is that students can have different styles of arguing or explaining, due to personality, cultural norms or other factors. A difference may be in attitude to adult authority—when an adult is present, a student might turn to her or him for an answer, rather than construct an argument for her or himself. In this clip, one student reports on his observations, which are disputed by another student. Instead of turning to the teacher, they consult a reference book on insects. This is a noteworthy instance of student argument-building because it suggests these students want internal satisfaction about the truth of the information they have synthesized, rather than an answer from a single authority figure.
(Content Standard)—The domain that captures the mathematics content that these first grader data collectors are studying is—Measurement and Data 1MD. Students demonstrate that they can collect observable data, represent their data symbolically, organize their data on student-constructed and class-constructed charts, and interpret their findings. They asked and answered questions about the data points in each of five categories and wrote simple equations to represent their mathematical understandings.
What are the pros and cons of allowing students to generate their own questions to explore in a lesson on data analysis? When disputes and discrepancies arise during data analysis, as they did in this clip, what role should teachers play in bringing resolution?
3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
1.MD Measurement and Data