The Data strand in the Mathematics K-6 syllabus “addresses the need for all students to understand, interpret and analyse information displayed in tabular and graphical forms.” In combination with classroom activities, data gathering, spreadsheets and graphics software, there is a wide range of online interactive websites that can be used to develop students’ mathematical learning and understanding. One of these is Create a Graph (http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/).

The National Centre for Education Statistics (NCES), is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences, and is the primary US federal entity for collecting and analysing data related to education. Within this site, is the NCES Kids’ Zone (http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/index.asp ) which provides, amongst other information, several games, quizzes and skill building activities about Maths, probability, graphing and mathematicians.

Create a Graph provides tools to produce five different graphs and charts. There is an online tutorial as well as instructions, examples and a scaffolded process to create the graph. For instance, for younger students or those new to a certain graph type, there is a Create a Graph ‘classic’ section. The following explanation is under the Pie Chart link:“There are all kinds of charts and graphs, some are easy to understand while others can be pretty tricky. There are so many different types because each one has a fairly specific use. Pie charts can be used to show percentages of a whole, and represent percentages at a set point in time. They do not show changes over time.”It also gives students the opportunity to create a graph with data from NCES as well as entering their own. For those students who already have mastered a basic understanding of graphs, the interface is slightly different. A graph type is chosen, and then following the tabs down the side, students enter the design, data and labels before previewing and printing.

Create a Graph is excellent if you want a transition graphing activity before tackling spreadsheets OR if your school or students’ home computers do not have spreadsheet software. It can also be used as a whole class graphing activity and a means to explain certain concepts in the data strand as well as a focus for experimenting with a variety of tools to organize, display and analyse data. 

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