Kakooma Challenge – End of Year Data Analysis

By: Mary Kienstra on: June 1, 2014  in: box and whisker plot, Engagement, histogram, Kakooma, Mean, median, outlier

You know my favorite day of the week is Friday because that is Kakooma challenge day in my class.  My former post If It’s Friday, It Must Be Kakooma Challenge Day, describes the basics of our weekly Kakooma Challenge day.  This post will talk about how we used this data at the end of the year.
I teach 3 math classes every day – 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade. Since I have 3 math classes, they compete against each other every Friday in the Kakooma Challenge to see which class can score the lowest average time in the Kakooma multiplication game on www.gregtangmath.com.  As described in the previous post, they play in groups on the Smart Board, graph their scores, identify clusters of data as well as outliers, calculate the mean, compare it to the median, and record their score on the “leaderboard” in my classroom.  It is a great routine that kids look forward to all week.  We have student leaders who run the whole thing.  I stay out of the way!
My students know mean, median, cluster, and outlier because they have lived this all year.  3rd graders were chanting, “the mean is falling!” as they watched each group compete.  4th graders argued that the median was the better measure since it was not affected as much by the outlier.  I could never find this level of engagement or understanding by having them fill in worksheets.
At the end of the year, we have 35 weeks of data, for three grade levels.  5th graders are studying data analysis and graphing – seems like a perfect fit. Last week the 5th graders found the mean and median for each grade level.  Then they created a histogram, box and whisker plot, and line graph showing scores over time.  Tomorrow they will analyze all of these graphs. 
The lesson I’ve learned is that kids need real data, real experiences that they care about.  This is where the learning occurs.  Every student in my class will remember the day they “broke the class record” or “beat the 5th graders.” They love this competition and they think they are playing a game.  They know mean and median, cluster and outlier because that determines who WINS! It’s perfect!

Scores for the year – Notice the improvement
Scores for the year – nice improvement!
Scores for the year – improvement!
The Leaderboard – most popular graphic in my class

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