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Home > Educator Resources > Data Analysis

Data Analysis

In data analysis, students will use data from a variety of sources to create, interpret and analyze graphs. This strategy may be the continuation of the Data Collection strategy.

U.S. National Geography Standards

Element One: The World in Spatial Terms

Standard One: How to Use Maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics

Sponsored by NCTM


Data Analysis and Probability - Instructional programs from prekindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to: formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them; select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data; develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data; understand and apply basic concepts of probability.



Other materials:
  • Dataset(s) appropriate to the lesson objectives. See How Much Does That Elephant Weigh? for an example activity that includes a dataset.
  • Graph paper
  • Colored pencils/Markers
  • Microsoft Excel or other appropriate software (if desired/available)

Instructional sequence:
  • Collect data appropriate to the objectives for the lesson.
  • Organize the data in a logical manner, such as by categories, dates, times, etc. Enter the data into a chart or table to help with the organization.
  • Discuss ways to display the data visually, such as in a graph, so that it is easy to view and interpret.
  • Students should graph the information in a variety of ways. For example, allow different groups of students to graph the information in a bar graph, line graph, circle graph, etc. Different sets of data can be displayed on one graph to facilitate comparison, as long as students use different colors or patterns when graphing the data sets.
  • Compare the different graphs. Discuss which graphs best display the data. Look for patterns and relationships displayed in the graphs. Discuss possible explanations for those relationships.
  • Have students write conclusions summarizing what they have learned from the graphs. Their conclusions could also be written in the form of a critical or analytical essay. See the Critical Writing strategy in Educator Resources.

  • Students can include the interpretation and analysis of their data in other research documents, present it to the public, or share it in various written forms.
  • Students can develop new research questions based on the findings of their initial research, and repeat the data analysis process with the new questions in mind.

  • Students can be given a new data set and asked to organize and graph it, to demonstrate their ability to display data in a graph.
  • Students' summary paragraphs can be assessed in a variety of ways, such as using a rubric or checklist, peer assessment, etc.

Literacy advancement:
  • Analyzing graphs both orally and in written form. Writing paragraphs summarizing the information students have learned from the graph. Developing predictions.

Author: West, Reagan

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