Greedy Cat


In this unit we explore ways to pose and answer investigative questions about cats by gathering and analysing data and discussing the results.

Achievement Objectives
S1-1: Conduct investigations using the statistical enquiry cycle: posing and answering questions; gathering, sorting and counting, and displaying category data; discussing the results.
Specific Learning Outcomes
  • Pose investigative questions with support from the teacher.
  • With the teacher decide on how to collect the data to answer the investigative question.
  • Sort objects into categories for display.
  • Make a display of the data collected (pictograph).
  • Make statements about data displays.
Description of Mathematics

In this unit students pose investigative questions with the teacher, then gather, sort, display and discuss data to answer the question. These are fundamental skills for statistical investigations and lay the foundation for all further work in the area. Posing investigative questions is fundamental to a good statistical investigation. At Level 1 the investigative question is driven by the teacher who models good structure without being explicit about the structure. 

In this unit the students are extensively involved in the sorting and display of the data (cat pictures). Sorting is an excellent way to encourage students to think about important features of data and this leads to classifications that make sense to them. In this unit the students compare the groups formed when the data is sorted by one-to-one matching. This one-to-one matching leads to the development of a pictograph. This provides an opportunity to strengthen the counting strategies of the students as the objects in the data sets are counted and compared.

Opportunities for Adaptation and Differentiation

The learning opportunities in this unit can be differentiated by providing or removing support to students and by varying the task requirements. Ways to support students include:

  • reducing the number of cat pictures in the data set for students who are beginning to count one-to-one when they are doing individual or small group work
  • extending the data to include counts of the number of cats (dogs, pets) students have. 

The context for this unit can be adapted to suit the interests and experiences of your students. For example:

  • adapting to look at another type of pet e.g. dogs, fish.
Required Resource Materials
  • Greedy Cat (Ready to Read)
  • A4 paper for drawing (cut in 8 pieces)
  • Chart paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Crayons
  • "Big Cat" pictures

Getting Started

We begin the week by sharing the book Greedy Cat.

(For very young students the teacher may need to record a statement about the cat under the picture, for example, "a fluffy cat")

  1. Discuss the pictures in the book. Talk about the things the students notice about Greedy Cat. Emphasise the attributes of Greedy Cat. 
  2. Students talk about their own cat or the cat that they would like to have.
  3. Students draw their cat on their rectangle of paper. (1/8 of the A4).


The teacher collects the cat pictures and photocopies these onto A4 sheets. One copy of all the cats will be needed for each pair of students. (Note: If colour is the attribute used you will need to colour copy the cats.)

  1. The teacher explains that we are going to investigate "What are the types of cats the students in our class have or would like to have? (this is the investigative question).
    We collected information (data) from you all by you drawing your cat onto the paper.
  2. The teacher spreads the original drawings out for the class to see.
    Can you see any cats that are the same? How?  
  3. These cats are placed in a pile and given to the child who named the category.
    How many cats are there in the pile? One, two, three...
    As a class, count the number of cats in the pile.
    The question is repeated until all the cats are sorted.
    Use this counting activity as an opportunity to strengthen the number sequences and one-to-one correspondence of the word name with the item, of students who are emergent (stage 0) on the Number Framework. Ask for volunteers to count the objects, asking them to justify their count. Students at stages 1 and 2 will count by pointing to or touching the objects while students at higher stages may use images of the numbers and be able to 'see' that a group is, for example, four, without needing to count the objects.
  4. Repeat the process encouraging the students to be more "creative" in their nomination of categories. Get the students who already have a pile of cats to restate the category that they used so that they don’t forget this category. This reinforces the sorting of data.
    Who do you think has the most cats?
    How do you know? Show me.

    If the students do not use one-to-one matching you may need to model this.
    Students at stage 4 or above may be able to find the difference between the sets by counting-on or back.
  5. Now how do we know who has the most cats?
    Once the categories have been matched 1-1 (in a line) glue the pictures onto chart paper.
    Record statements beside the chart of cats about the number in each category, and some comparisons between categories.

Over the next two days work with the students to develop investigative questions about cats and to use the photocopied pictures (data) to find the answers.

  1. Brainstorm possible areas we could explore and develop investigative questions.
    What size cats do we have?
    What types of coats do our cats have?
    What sorts of tails do our cats have?
  2. The pairs select and record the investigative question they want to work on. They then sort and display the cat pictures (1-1 to form a pictograph) to answer their investigative question.
    Repeat this with another investigative question (if time allows).
  3. Conclude the exploration by pinning up the cat displays on the wall to share with everyone (this may include parents and whānau). Each pair selects one of their displays to tell the class about. Question, prompt and support as needed to elicit appropriate oral language including statistical language.


Today we look at a set of "big cats" (for instance, lions and tigers) and pose possible investigative questions.

  1. Display photos of cats. Discuss the photos.
    Does anyone know the names of these animals?
    Where might they live?
    Have you ever seen any of these? Where?
  2. After a general discussion focus on the possible questions areas of interest that could be answered explored using the photos.
    What kind of things could we find out about "big cats" from these pictures?
    (For example: patterns on their coat, types of tails Are there more spotty cats than stripy cats? Do all cats have bushy tails?)
    Develop investigative questions together and list the questions on a chart. E.g. What are the patterns on the coats of the big cats?
    Leave the investigative questions and the pictures for the students to explore.
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Level One