Cross Post: Visualising Data – it doesn’t need to be difficult #coetail


This week’s COETAIL assignment (well technically last week but I was busy) had us looking at infographics. While I think the viewing and creating of data is important, I’m sure I’m not the only elementary teacher out there thinking – oh great alongside being a photographer, videographer and blogger I need to be a graphic designer.

But here’s the the thing.

Visualising data doesn’t need to be that difficult.

Every week I put out a binary question for the kids to answer.


They chuck a counter in depending on their answer for the week. One week of the children rushed up to say ‘Ms Stephanie we have 21 counters in the box and only 20 children in the class! At this point, the display was a good way to talk about ‘fair testing’ – for example how many counters should kids be putting in. For the ‘Am I getting enough sleep’ binary question we decided that one per counter per day would give us good data and we could watch the display and the numbers of counters change over the week. This gives children a sense that size is important for showing scale. Other weeks, it might just be one counter per child.

At the moment this is very low-tech.

But here’s the tune up.

Instead of going the inforubric route for a new unit of inquiry I simply had the kids take a photo of the binary question and doodlecast their thinking.

The results uncovered a lot more about children’s thinking than any other type of assessment.

This child clearly knows a lot about certain forms of energy but  he is unable to take perspectives. His learning for this unit will not be on content but seeing problems for a different perspective.

This child focus on one type of energy, electricity, but she is able to take perspectives and is able to describe how energy is used by humans. She will need to spend time thinking about the different forms of energy. She is using the doodlecast to full effect by drawing over the picture.

This child stops recording after giving her answer then comes up with a really interesting question that I use as a teaching point with the kids during the next few lessons.


So yes infographics are snazzy but the element of voice alongside a simple classroom display can also give powerful voice to important data we might not otherwise see (or hear).

from Teaching the Teacher

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