Measurement & Data
Measurement is the assignment of a numerical value to an attribute of an object, such as the length of a pencil. At more sophisticated levels, measurement involves assigning a number to a characteristic of a situation, as is done by the consumer price index. Through their school experience, primarily in prekindergarten through grade 8, students should become proficient in using measurement tools, techniques, and formulas in a range of situations
Another focus of this domain is for students to learn to formulate questions that can be answered using data and understand what is involved in gathering and using the data wisely. Young children can devise simple data-gathering plans to attempt to answer their questions. As students move through the elementary grades, they should spend more time planning the data collection and evaluating how well their methods worked in getting information about their questions. In the middle grades, students should work more with data that have been gathered by others or generated by simulations.
In Kindergarten, children develop initial understandings of attributes by interacting with, touching, and making observations about real life items, such as counters, shoes, their own heights, etc. They can compare which is “longer” or “shorter”, which pile has “more” or “less”, and use non-standard measures, such as paper clips, pencils, etc., as their units of measurement. Landmarks are beginning to be developed that will be used by the students in their future mathematical and science experiences. These include linear measurement, weight, and time and money. Standard measurements can be introduced as students are ready.
A natural outgrowth of counting, classifying, and comparing is the beginning understanding of data and data analysis. Young children will naturally ask questions about objects as they are allowed to investigate and as they measure, sort, and compare. Young children can be encouraged to sort and then resort by a new rule. For example, a collection of toy vehicles can be sorted by color and then by types – convertibles, trucks, etc.