Looking for a fun and easy way to introduce your kids to data collection and analysis? You will love this simple tally and bar graph practice activity. What kid doesn’t like tacos? Well, using this ‘Taco Time’ data collection page, kids can learn how to survey their friends to collect data, keep track using tally marks and then display the information with a bar graph.
Data Collection: Using Tally Marks
A very simple way for kids to learn to collect data is to use tally marks. What is a tally mark? Well, a tally mark, or hash mark, is simply a vertical line used to represent a piece of data or to keep count.
To make keeping count simpler, every 5th mark crosses the previous 4 to show a visual for a group of 5.
This way, as you continue your on going counting, you can easily count up the total by counting by 5s.
Teaching kids at an early age to use and count tally marks is a great way to work on a variety of math skills such as:
- One to one correspondence
- Counting to tell how many
- Counting by 5s and counting on
- Data collection
Taco Time: Tally Mark Practice
In this activity, you will need one tally mark collection page and one graphing page per child.
They then use the ‘taco toppings’ data collection page to survey their friends, family or classmates to find out which taco toppings are the most popular.
For example, for every person who likes tomatoes on their taco, they will write one tally mark.
And so they continue for the whole survey. If you are doing this in class, have them survey 8-10 of their classmates before returning to their seats to analyze the data.
If you are using this as a homework assignment, be sure they get a large enough sample to allow them to graph and analyze the data (8-10 people).
Analyze the Results: Creating a Bar Graph
Once students have finished the survey and have a total tally for each taco topping (wow, that’s a mouthful!) they use the information they gathered to create a bar graph.
For example, if 6 people liked tomatoes on their taco, they then color six blocks on their bar graph to represent the number six.
They color the information they gathered on their bar graph for all 6 toppings and then you can discuss what they found.
If you like this set, you might like my complete collection of Data Analysis for grades K-2! It includes 8 different themes to explore throughout the year. Learn more about the set HERE.
Questions to Ask to Analyze the Bar Graph:
If students completed this independently and all have varying results, you can ask things like:
- What was the most popular topping? Does that seem to be the case for everyone?
- Did anyone have zero for a topping? What does this tell us about that topping?
- Do you think your results would be different (in terms of most popular and least popular choices) if you surveyed more people? Why or why not?
If you complete this as a class (perhaps ask a handful of students and have all students record the same results on their tally sheet), you can ask additional questions such as:
- What is the difference between the most popular topping and the least popular?
- What is the total number of toppings graphed on your bar graph?
- Find the total number of people who liked cheese and sour cream.
Of course, you could have students do these kinds of math problems even if they all have different results in their data, but it will be a little more difficult for you to grade or discuss as a class.
I hope this gives you some fun ideas for how you can incorporate tally and bar graph practice into your math classroom, even if you teach young kids!
Data analysis is an important math skill that doesn’t have to wait until high school.
To grab the printable set, just click the link below to grab it from my shop. 🙂
You might also like this Skittles Count and Graph Set!
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