Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kobe Bryant Teaches Data Collection and Analysis

I like to teach my students in as many different ways as possible while still getting through the message and the learning that needs to get through. In 5th grade here in the state of New Mexico, we teach data analysis and probability (this is also true of those of you in the upper elementary grades who are already on the Common Core or will be going to them soon). This activity is very simple, yet very effective, and will be especially fun for the sports fans in your class (and you have some).

When we start getting into discussions about data, it's important for students to know when to use the appropriate graphs (See How Do I Choose Which Type of Graph To Use?), and move on to data collection and finally to analysis of the collected data. Some of the mainstay data collection activities include measuring height of everyone in the classroom, asking everyone what their favorite color, food, animal, etc. is, and on and on and on. There are an infinite amount of possibilities.

So along those lines, when discussing growth over time, discrete events, comparing quantitative or qualitative data, it's important for students to know why they're choosing the graph they're choosing, and what they're graphing.

I have students watch the following video, which shows Kobe Bryant scoring 81 points on January 22, 2006. This video has been edited down to show only Kobe's scoring plays. I have students make a chart for the recording of raw data that divides their paper into minutes (starting at 12 and going down to 0), and they do this four times, once for each quarter. What they do is put a tally mark for each point scored, and at what point in the quarter that point was scored. Needless to say I have to do some pausing to make sure that everyone stays with the action.

When they're done, I ask students to analyze this data, and make a graph showing Kobe's point progression over the course of the game. This is a great opportunity for students to create line graphs, and build that graph up to the eventual 81 points. Many students want to start their graph back from zero at the end of each quarter, which is why I also ask students to analyze the data in at least one other way. I've had students come up with points per quarter, some say that he scored x amount of points before a certain time each quarter, and on and on. This simple activity gives students a chance to do some data analysis and collection of their own, and only takes about 25 minutes to complete.

So here's the video. I also have a simple data collection sheet you are free to use or modify. You can download that HERE:

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