HOW IT WORKS
Surveying Pre-Teen Tastes is a multidisciplinary program that enables students to develop math and language arts skills while focusing on their peers’ opinions and preferences regarding areas of common interest: food, movies, music, and other youth-oriented subjects and issues. This program enables students to graph their surveys of children from ages 10-12 both traditionally and with the use of technology. Discussing the tastes of pre-teens makes the work more interesting. The students are divided into groups of four, taking into account varied abilities in math and computer skills. Each member of the group is assigned a task: leader, secretary, keyboard operator, and presenter. They discuss topics that interest them, such as foods, music, school subjects, books read, movies, etc. The groups pick the topics and ask 100 students aged 10-12 about their tastes and preferences, giving each individual about four choices. The groups work both together and separately, in and out of school. After teaching the graphing process using CIMS, the teacher demonstrates how to make charts and interpret them as graphs using a word-processing program. After all the groups have a chance on the computers, their findings are discussed. The students then chart their surveys and draft both a bar graph and a pie graph using the spreadsheet of ClarisWorks. The main activities are assembly of information; critical thinking, and collating and examining data; putting their information on a spreadsheet; and then graphing that information.
The students were sixth graders of varied computer abilities, though none of the children knew how to chart or graph information. The program can be adapted to children of different ages with varying interests.
I have been teaching 30 years and every year is a new experience for me. I am always learning, using books, taking classes and listening to my students. This is the first time I have used this program.
WHAT YOU NEED
A computer with a word-processing program and a printer is used. The teacher must be familiar with a spreadsheet such as that found in ClarisWorks, Microsoft Excel, or Lotus 123. It is easier to teach the class using a converter that puts the teacher’s computer screen on a large television, but this is not required. The graphs are more effective and interesting when they are produced on a color printer.
I wanted to develop a fun activity that would include cooperative learning. There are several children new to the school and I wanted them to become more involved with the class. Our classroom is self-contained, so moving around and interacting with new students represented a great opportunity for all. The sixth-grade math curriculum has chart reading and graphing as topics. The children are also required to gather, analyze, and interpret data. Graphs can be used in every subject, to plot or display information. The skills gained within the groups and by the individuals enable each child to become a better student in all fields of learning, both in school and in the future.