# Data at a Glance

### What Is Data?

Data is information that we collect to answer questions or solve problems. It can often be helpful to organize data into a list, table, or graph to help us interpret it, recognize patterns, and draw conclusions.

### Why Is Learning About Data Important?

Data helps people understand the world around them and make decisions. We gather information to answer questions such as:

• “Are there enough cookies for everyone or do I need to put more out?” Count how many people and cookies there are.
• “Should I wear my tall snow boots tomorrow?” Check the weather forecast to find out how many inches it is going to snow.
• “What type of ice cream should we get for a party?” Survey people’s favorite flavors to find out.

### What Do Children Need to Know About Data?

Children can learn how to:

• Collect data: Count how many people are in line to use the slide and the swings to see which one has a shorter wait.
• Sort or organize objects by different features: Arrange classroom books by the first letter in the title so that favorite books are easier to find.
• Ask questions that can be answered by collecting information: For example, “Do we have enough forks and spoons for everyone eating lunch at this table?”
• Organize and represent information: Use tally marks or simple bar graphs to show what colors of cars children see.

## How Can We Help Children Learn Data?

### Talk About Data Throughout the Day

• Talk about how things around the classroom can be sorted.
• Ask what the sorted objects have in common.
• Make tally charts or bar graphs to organize and compare information, such as what book the class wants to read.

### Ideas for Exploring Data During:

#### Centers/Small Groups

Heavier or Lighter?: Have students use a balance to weigh objects against a base object and construct a chart showing which items are heavier or lighter.

#### Guided Small Groups

During science activities, children can represent which objects sank and which floated.

#### Math Moments

Compare Shapes to Find Your Group: When putting children into groups, give each child a card with a shape, object, number, or color on it and have them get into groups based on their card.

## How Can We Support Learning About Data at Home?

Encourage families to:

• Ask children to sort objects (for example, blocks, laundry, kitchen items) by color, size, or type.
• Ask children if their friends or family members like something, such as a certain food, park, or TV character. Then organize the answers with simple tallies on paper. Talk about what the data means: “How many people said yes?” “Which park do most friends want to go to?”