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Surveys are great ways for young children to collect data and conduct an analysis of the results. While it is true that the computer can also be used for surveys, you may not have enough computers available and this “hands on” approach really illustrates the process. I have a printer that can print on large index cards so I can print out my survey cards and have no cutting involved in the first part of the process.

The graphic shows how a sample card might be set up to handle ten questions that must be answered with a Yes or No response. You could give each child in the class a survey card and they would have to darken in the whole section of the “V” shape if their answer was “Yes”. Later they would have to cut out any “V” sections that were darkened. This would cut out the whole “V” section including the round “No” section. The “No” sections must be punched with a hole punch and the teacher may want to punch all the holes in advance. There are ways that you can set up guides to help you cut in pretty much the same exact place each time you must punch a hole. Some hole punchers will allow you to add extra punches and move them to specific locations. This would make the hole punching pretty simple.

If your printer can not print on index cards or can not print properly on them then you can possibly print on card stock. This will require quit a bit more cutting, but it sometimes can be accomplished quickly with commercial types of cutting equipment. It is important that this cutting be fairly accurate because you will want the cards to line up in a neat even stack.

Now, suppose a student is answering the first question: “Are you a male?” and it is a male student, the student could cut that “V” section out. If the student is a female student then only the hole must be punched out. This is the way each question is handled. If you are going to ask a question like hair color then you will most likely need to ask a series of questions. Be careful to select appropriate questions. If you want you can enlist the students in the process of selecting the questions.

To begin analysis of the data you may want to make a chart to record the basic results. If you stack all the cards together, and then take a “skewer” or a metal rod and poke it through the 1st hole and then lift you will lift out all the cards that were answered “No”. This means the students were female. In an instant you have divided the cards into two groups. You might want to get the data for each individual question first. It is possible to get data on multiple questions through this method. If you use the metal rod method to pull out the girls and then use the rod to pull out those that have dogs.

This process is essentially similar to a “classification key” used in biology classes. As you use the key system you get closer and closer to the name of an organism. This is a common method to identify fish in an area. The graphic was produced partially in “paint” program and partially in a word processor.

 

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