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### Fun Activities for Building Data Literacy

Everywhere we look, there is data to interpret. There is data about sports, elections, health and trends in our society. Learning how to read and organize this data is important and empowering to students as they make their way through their education.

Before becoming a teacher, I worked in the environmental consulting field between leaky gas stations and the Department of Environmental Protection. Part of my job was to collect data from soil and water samples at gas stations, interpret this data and report on it. I learned at this job that data interpretation is more subjective than I had thought. For example, dropping one more monitoring well into the groundwater upstream from a leaking tank will drop the overall average of the amount of gasoline in the groundwater at a leaky gas station. I lasted 3 years in that field before making the move to teaching. It wasn't for me.

And then there's the difference between mean and median when it comes to home prices and pay. Often the median is given in these situations so that outliers don't throw off the data making the numbers appear greater than they are. Interpreting this data and talking about the differences makes for interesting classroom discussion.

In this post I want to share a few fun activities you can use in your classroom to teach data analysis.

The first is a mean, median, mode and range digital math escape room activity. Students must unlock 5 locks by finding mean, median, mode and range in 5 sets of data. Questions are grouped 4 per puzzle, resulting in five 4-letter codes that will unlock all 5 locks.

This one also comes in a black and white printable version in the same file if you'd like your students to work on paper.

Next is a box and whiskers vocabulary sort where students sort 18 vocabulary terms onto the box plot for median, outlier, upper extreme, lower extreme, quartiles and interquartile range (I.Q.R.), then identify mean, mode and range given the box plot's data.

Many professions require some level of data literacy. Whether in STEM fields, business, healthcare, social sciences, and even in the arts, the ability to work with data is an increasingly valuable skill for students to learn.

Data presented as real-world problems encourages students to apply their problem solving skills and build insights into the data. This two way tables digital math escape room activity gives students practice analyzing and evaluating the data presented in two way tables. Students find missing table values, answer "and" and "or" questions and calculate percentages represented by the data in this activity. A printable version is also included.

Next is a mean, median, mode and range math pennant activity that doubles as classroom décor when students finish the activity. Students find mean, median, mode and range given either 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 single and double-digit numbers of data. Some answers require rounding.

Students follow a stock for a week, calculate the daily and weekly percent change in price, estimate a line of fit for their scatter plot, find the slope and equation of their line of fit and write a final analysis of their data in this stock market project. Above is my student Sam's final project and written analysis of the data he collected. We did this project in our algebra class to cover percent change. It's also a nice project for a consumer math class.

In this probability digital math escape room activity, student figure out the simple or compound probability in 20 scenarios. Students find the probability of either one or two events in each question. Questions are grouped 4 per puzzle, resulting in five 4-letter codes that will unlock all 5 locks.

If you're looking for probability activities, I just recently made a "2 truths and a lie" error analysis activity for probability. Students have to figure out which of the 3 statements is wrong (the "lie") and correct the lie on their answer sheet.

Students analyze different depictions of data to find mean, median, mode, range, totals and percentages in this data math pennant activity. Data is presented in tables, line plots, line graphs, bar graphs, histograms, box and whiskers plots, pie chars and sets of numbers. Students can hang their finished pennants to show what they know as part of your classroom décor.

This line plots digital math escape room comes in both self-checking digital in Google Forms and in black and white printable PDF. It asks students to analyze and answer questions about the data shown in each line plot.

And lastly, data representations on a 6th grade math word wall including bar graph, skew, box plot, mean, median, mode, range, circle graph, histogram, dot plot, stem & leaf and frequency table. The stem & leaf and the frequency table both use the same data (the party data in the middle) so that students can see the same data represented differently. This is also true for the circle graph and the histogram, and with the box plot and the dot plot.

Browse all data activities