In the context of data analysis, graphs are an important component. Understanding graphs bridges the gap between perceptual and conceptual math. Graphs help students see the relationship between varying amounts and numbers. In early processes, students learn to gather data and represent this data on graphs. Students can answer questions when analyzing the data on the graphs. There are multiple real-world situations that require data analysis. Data involves a variety of problem-solving processes: What do we want to learn? What question could we ask? Many students eat in the cafeteria. What do we want to know? Questions might include: How many students eat the cafeteria meal versus packing a lunch? How many students like white or chocolate milk? What is the favorite food from the cafeteria? How will we gather the information we want to learn? Students ask or survey others with questions. Students work on skills to record information. Students need practice in asking questions to gather data. Don’t forget the starter phrase: Excuse me. I am taking a survey. Would you mind answering a question about the cafeteria? (Pause for response.) What is your favorite food in the cafeteria? Students with limited verbal abilities may use a voice output device to ask questions. Instructional Guides Mathematics Guide © 2013 n2y ULS, Revised August 2012 Page 38 of 48 How will students record the answers to a question? This may include a tally sheet, a form to be completed by the person being surveyed, or by clipping clothespins on a response card. There are many adaptive ways for students to recognize skills in data recording. How will the data be displayed? Will the responses be put on a chart or a graph? Picture, words and coloring are all ways to display information. Data recording now becomes a counting process as well. A picture graph may be viewed to see “which column is the tallest?” But counting to get total numbers is also a way to begin to analyze the data. Which has more, less, is equal? These are all mathematics concepts that are now crossing between standards. What did we learn from this data? Every data gathering activity should have time for discussion and reflection on the results. Will there be a follow-up action as the result of the data learned? In the Middle School and High School grade bands, students begin to apply data that can be located in informational charts and graphs to formulate opinions and conclusions. These data gathering processes continue onto activities for statistics and probability.