Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.



This standard focuses on the students’ ability to read and interpret sets of data that they have collected and displayed in an organized and categorical manner (i.e., bar graph or a pictograph, table, list of numbers), and that the data being “read” is data collected by the students themselves, and then put into a graphic representation themselves. Such a skill also incorporates a student’s ability to collect data, generalize information, count data sets on a graph, and perform simple computation operations that will yield a greater variety of information about the data.

Understanding the Standard:

  • Provide a variety of opportunities for students to categorize objects or other data sets in order to create data representations in the world around them. Such activities might include sorting shoes, personal attributes (e.g., hair color, eye color, boys and girls), ways they get to school, favorite color. Once the sets have been determined, guiding students to participate in displaying the information in a list is helpful. For example, "There are 5 students who go to bed after 9 PM, 13 students who go to bed between 8 PM and 9 PM, and 7 students who go to bed before 8 PM".
  • Have students sort candy by color, then look at another student's data and decide which color was the most frequent, least frequent, and so on.
  • Have students count how many students have each hair color. Then use this data to determine how many students there are in total, and how many more students have brown hair than blonde hair, etc.

Questions to Focus Instruction:

    • What everyday experiences or objects can be used to create a data set?
    • Can my students identify the topic of a graph based on the title of a graph?
    • Can my students identify the sets of data that are being represented and communicate its relevance to the title?
    • Have I introduced my students to a variety of ways in which data can be related in a visual way, such as towers, bar graphs, pictographs, etc., so that they have a better understanding of what visual representations can be?
    • Are students able to answer questions relative to the information in the graph and compare sets of data for greater understanding?
    • Can students determine how many objects are in each category?
    • Can students determine how many objects there are in total?
    • Can students determine how many more objects are in one category than another?
    • If data is presented in a table, can students correctly extract information?
    • If data is presented in several categories, can students correctly determine which category contains more data points?
    • If data is presented in categories, can students correctly determine the difference between the number of data points in each?


      Prior to: Students should be able to sort items and communicate the reasoning for the way they have been sorted. Students can count the number of items in a particular category and make a general statement about that grouping in comparison to another set of grouped items. Go to K.MD.B.3 to see previous skills in this progression.

      At Grade Level: Mastery at this level includes the ability to separate a set of objects into many categories and then communicate the reasoning for each grouping.

      Moving Beyond: In addition to reading and interpreting bar graphs and pictographs, students will create their own graph in order to display a set of data. Furthermore, they will decide if a given graph is displaying the data information correctly. Go to 2.MD.D.10 to see the progression of related skills.