Data Analysis/Collection Lesson Plan

Day 1



Students will be able to understand the concepts of collecting or gathering data in survey or question form so that it can be presented in a clear and logical form. Students will have to understand that when collecting data in a real-world situation that the: 1) Data source has to be reliable; 2) The sample has to be representative; 3) The survey design has to be appropriate.


1. Have students begin to demonstrate an understanding for collecting data

2. Students will learn different methods for collecting data

3. Learn the concepts of valid and invalid data

4. Introduce Fathom as a tool for recording data in collection and survey form


1. Tape measures

2. Recording charts

3. Fathom software


1. Students will be told that they will be conducting an "experiment" where data will be collected. The data collection will consist four measurements that the students gather from one another.

2. The reason for the experiment will be to answer some very important mathematical questions dealing with data analysis and what we can learn from it. Begin a discussion on the students experience with data gathering and specifically what was concluded from that experience. These questions will then be answered from this experiment that is being conducted in class today.

3. Students will be broken down into groups of two (three can also be used) and each group will be given a tape measure and measurement chart worksheet. See Chart here. Remind the students to keep accurate records of the data and not to just write down the numbers they find but to see if they can start to understand the number.

4. In pairs the students will be told that they will be taking four measurements. The four measurements are: height, arm span (middle finger to middle finger with arms spread out), wrist circumference and forearm width. These measurements then will be recorded on that chart that was handed out.

5. Following the collection of data from each pair of students will be asked to write down some open-ended exploratory questions. I want the students to be able to develop questions that may be asked about the data set that was gathered with their partner(s).

6. After giving the students 5-10 minutes, using a larger spreadsheet that you previously made verbally collect all the measurements that the class has gathered from each of the classmates. This will be the master list of measurements from the students. Make sure that the master list of measurements is visible for the entire class to see.

7. Next verbally develop a master list of questions that was gathered by each group. Record all of the questions on a blackboard or overheard so that the entire class can see them. Address the questions that seem to be most popular or appear more than once. Make sure that each question is addressed so that the students have the answers. The questions that need to be answered from this data are the following:

  • Relationships that have developed between variables
  • The concept of having valid data (invalid data could occur if each pair of students was taking measurements differently)
  • Can predictions be made from the data gathering
  • Could gathering this data occurred in a different matter.
  • 8. Following the discussion introduce students to Fathom and how you can use it in data analysis. Explain that we are going to be able to type in all the measurements and explore relationships that develop. For example, what happens if height is compared with wrist circumference. Also introduce the terms mean, median, mode and range and see if the students know the definitions of these terms.

    9. Open Fathom for the first time and show the students how to start a collection by opening a <new> table. Begin to set up the table and type the attributes necessary for this collection.


    This will conclude the lesson for the day. This is a appropriate stopping point because the students can then start to see what is going to develop with the use of Fathom.


    By spending an entire class period discussing and actually collecting data the students will become engaged in the activity. They will have a sense of ownership in what is taking place and by working with a partner the process of collecting the measurements will take less time.

    By taking measurements of the body the students will soon realize that measurements can be used to make future predictions and inferences about the data collected. They will also grasp the idea that data has to be valid to be used to make these predictions and that surveys, actual experiments and already conducted studies are all ways to collect data and make new or improved predictions.


    As students are collecting data they will be informally assessed on the goals of the task, participation and involvement within the group. Students will be required to have recorded all the measurements in the correct manner. At the end of class the measurement worksheets will be collected to verify that the information that was recorded was accurate and the students actually wrote down what the measurements were. The questions that each pair of students present will also be looked at as an assessment tool.


    Students will be asked to come up with a real-world problem where data can be collected and used for analysis. Each student will have to turn in an outline that would show what information is being collected, what relationships may be formed from that information, how the information is being collected and why someone might want to take advantage of this data collection and analysis.