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Integrating basic skills Essay

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Graphing and Social Studies The Rationale Graphing skills are in important tool for participating in adult society. As such, they should be emphasized and integrated into the curriculum. Including a graphing exercise as part of a larger social studies unit is a good way to reinforce math and interpretive skills. A graphing exercise gives the student an opportunity to demonstrate what has been learned in a creative way. Reproducing the information in graphical form also helps the students to see the big picture.

It helps them see how different elements relate, and it provides a visual representation of the information that can be more easily remembered. As adults, the students will find that graphs are not solely a mathematical element. Graphs are a way we communicate concepts as well as data. Early integration of this skill into a child’s education can only be beneficial. The Exercise Software and internet sites to assist graphing activities are plentiful. For this exercise, the Create a Graph website (http://nces.

ed. gov/nces/kids/graphing/) sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics will be used.

The students have been studying the Plymouth Plantation. This lesson points out that the Pilgrims attained a new sense of freedom, but it was not without hardship. The graphing exercise is designed to reinforce this concept. Before the exercise begins the teacher will run through a brief graphing tutorial. To begin, the students will each receive one of three different assignment sheets. They will later be divided into groups based on which assignment they receive. The students in group one will receive a handout summarizing the information obtained in the part of the lesson called “Step 2.

” Their task will be to construct a graph at the Create a Graph website comparing the speeds of various forms of transportation, present and past, including the Mayflower. A bar chart will be suggested. The students may discuss the project as a group, but each student must complete a chart. The second group will receive a handout summarizing the climatic data obtained in “Step 3. ” They will construct a chart showing the average temperature highs and lows for each month of the year. An area chart will be suggested. The third group will receive a handout describing population levels of colonists and natives in the area in the years 1620-1640.

They will be asked to construct charts showing the population distribution (men, women, Native Americans) in the years 1620 and 1640. Pie charts will be suggested. Copies of each graph will be printed for each student in the group. Fonts, colors and labels will be at the discretion of the students, but the students will be asked to keep in mind that their chart must explain the data clearly to someone who might not already be familiar with it. After everyone has completed a chart they will return to groups to discuss their results. The graphs in each group will not be identical, but they should be similar.

Each group will then be asked an interpretive question: “What is your graph telling us? ” The answer should be one written sentence. The idea is to present a very concise summary of the information, i. e. “The population difference between men and women shrunk between 1620 and 1640. ” The teacher will choose one or two members of each croup to present their graph, describe the process of making it, and describe the meaning. To reinforce the experience, the students will be asked, as a class a series of follow up questions including the following:

– Could we have used different types of graphs to present the data? Why or why not? – Why do we use graphs? – What do the graphs tell you about life on Plymouth? The graphing exercise will help students visualize the data. They can then draw their own conclusions about what the data means. They will gain exposure to the different types of graphs and when it is appropriate to use each. It is also another chance to integrate interactive technology into the students learning experience. The group format will allow students to exchange ideas and develop for themselves a more creative learning experience.

As with any group exercise, the job of the teacher is to facilitate interaction and full participation of the students. Sources Bergen County Intermediate School District. (2006). Technology Curriculum Integration Ideas! Retrieved 7/2/2006 from: http://www. remc11. k12. mi. us/bcisd/classres/intideas. htm Brooks, Susan & Byles, Bill. (2006). Idea Starters for using Technology in the Classroom.

Retrieved 7/2/2006 from: http://www. internet4classrooms. com/integ_tech_lessons. htm Evans, Janet. (2005). Literacy Moves On: Popular Culture, New Technologies, and Critical Literacy in the Elementary Classroom.

New York: Heinemann. Howell, Will C. (1987). Grid and graph it: graphing activities for listening and following directions, grades 4-6. Belmont, Calif. : Fearon Teacher Aids. National Center for Education Statistics. (2006). Students Classroom: Create a Graph. Retrieved 7/2/2006 from: http://nces. ed. gov/nces/kids/graphing/ Starr, Linda. (2003). Technology Integration Ideas that Work. Retrieved 7/2/2006 from: http://www. education-world. com/a_tech/tech/tech176. shtml Ventura, Fred. (2006). Graphing and Computers in Grades 3-5. Retrieved 7/2/2006 from: http://www,venturaes. com/graphing/.

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