Graphing activities for kindergarten include collecting data and organizing it in a variety of ways.
When children walk around the classroom and ask their friends which cereal they prefer, put a tally mark under the cereal picture, and count how many tally marks are in each column, they are not only graphing but also working with statistics or data analysis. There are lots of fun things to do in this area of math and the activities integrate well with science activities.
Graphs make counting and comparing meaningful and provide opportunities to bring numbers, letters, letter sounds and other literacy skills to the children's attention.
When children are making guesses about what might happen in different situations, they are learning about probability.
The children should have experiences:
- collecting information
- counting and making tallies
- surveying peers
- sorting objects
- making graphs with real things and making picture graphs
- reading graphs
- making observations from a graph
- working with tally marks and comparing their results with a friend's results
- asking questions about graph results
- using the terms "never, sometimes, always" (probability)
This graph is one of our "entry" activities. Each child has a name card and they pick it up upon entry and answer the question. We are currently talking about transportation and the ways that we come to school (we walk, ride bikes, come by car, ttc, in a van, etc.) We talked about how many people had said yes, they came in a van and how many people had not come in a van (it was up to them to decide if their car was a van or not). We talk about not having to count every name, we can just look to the side (the left hand numbers) and find the top person's number and that is the total. (Confused?-- this makes more sense when we do it)
Did more people come in a van? Or did more people not come in a van? (we talk about more, less or the same, or equal.). Then I asked the hard question: How many more people came in a van than didn't come in a van? (5 more). This is a tricky one, but we have done it lots of times, so most Sk students and some Jk students understand it.
One way of explaining it was taking off some of the names and having it be equal -- or a "tie" and then counting the 'extra' people. We also practice it by everyone standing up and then I say "The two people who are in row number 1 sit down, then the two people who are in row number 2 sit down", etc, until there are no more pairs to sit down -- the last people standing are how many more.
Some of the math words that we use:
row (this one is trick)