I Like Trucks


In this unit we explore ways to collect, analyse and report information about our favourites.

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
  • 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 the students begin by posing questions for investigation. Giving students specific questions to answer might be easier to manage but when they chose the questions themselves, the experience becomes more meaningful and enriching. Young students' questions are likely to focus on themselves and the activities that they are engaged in. Using the students and their interests is a recurring technique used in junior classes. It provides students with contexts that are meaningful and motivating.

In this unit we use favourites as the theme for the investigations. Much of the data collected at level one will be real objects. In this unit we begin with a collection of our favourite toys. Once the data (toys) are collected together they can be sorted into categories ready for display. It is important that the students are involved in deciding how to sort the objects. We then draw pictures of other favourites and use them to make displays. Once more we stress the importance of letting the students decide how to sort and display the data. In this unit we photocopy the drawings so that each pair of students gets the opportunity to make decisions about how the data should be sorted and displayed. The follow-up discussion of the displays will involve the students making statements about the number of objects in each of the categories. In this unit we do not attempt to get the students to formalise their displays into pictographs. However the thinking carried out in this unit means that the students would be ready to use pictographs in future statistics unit.

Required Resource Materials
  • Paper for drawing (cut A4 sheets into 8 pieces)
  • Chart paper
  • Scissors
  • A favourite toy from home

Getting Started

  1. We begin the week by looking at all the toys the students have brought to school. Ask the students, seated in a circle, to introduce their toy to the class.
  2. Let’s try to find out about our favourite toys.
  3. Ask a student to put their toy in the centre of the circle.
    Do any of you have toys that could belong with this one? Is there some way that your toy is like this one? How does your toy belong? Who has one that doesn’t belong? Why not?
  4. Continue until all the toys are sorted into categories. Together count the toys in each group.
    Four of us brought dolls or action men. Three of us brought balls to kick. Six of us brought toys with wheels. Two of us brought soft animals etc
  5. Record statements on a chart, for example,"Four of us like dolls the best."
  6. Let’s think about some other favourites questions we can ask the class this week.
    Write the students ideas on chart paper. Chose three questions for the class to answer this week.
    Possible favourite questions include: food, colour, drink, number, animal.
  7. Write each of the three questions on an envelope. Pin the envelopes up where everyone can reach them.
  8. Ask the students to draw an answer for each of the question. If they are able ask them to write their answer beside the picture. Circulate and help those who are unable to write their answers beside the picture.
  9. Put the named pictures (answers) in the appropriate envelope.


In preparation for these 3 days, make a set of picture sheets for each pair by photocopying the answers (8 per sheet of A4). It is worth taking the time to make copies as it gives everyone the opportunity to sort and display the data.

  1. Each day select one of the envelopes of favourites. Spread the pictures out on the mat for the students to look at.
  2. Can you see your drawing?
  3. Do you see any that are like yours?
  4. Which ones are different to yours?
  5. Ask the students for ideas for sorting the pictures.
  6. Sort the pictures according to one of the suggestions, for example, sort foods with others of the same type, for example, ice-creams, fruit, cakes, chips, fish
  7. Together count the pictures in each collection.
  8. Have the students return to their seats to work with their partners. Give each pair a set of the photocopied answers prepared for the day’s question.
  9. Each pair needs to cut the pictures apart and then decide how to sort them.
  10. As the students work ask questions that focus on the approach they are taking to sort the pictures?
    How are you sorting the pictures?
    How many categories or groups have you got? 
    Is it easy to decide where to put the pictures? Why/Why not?
  11. Once the pictures are sorted get the students to glue their pictures onto chart paper. Help them write statements about the chart if they are unable to write their own statements.
  12. At the end of each session ask the students to share their posters. Ask questions, such as in point 10 above, and 3, 4, and 5 below, and offer models of appropriate language to support the students to effectively talk about the process of making the chart and what is presented on it.


We begin today’s session by getting the students to select one of their favourites charts to display on the classroom walls.

  1. Let's look at all the great charts that we made this week.
  2. Spend some time looking at the charts and asking the students to tell you what the chart is saying about favourites.
  3. Can you tell us what your chart is saying about favourites?
  4. How many chose that favourite?
  5. Which things are favourites? How do you know? How does your chart show that?
  6. Conclude the session by gathering together the fruit pictures that families drew.
  7. Talk about ways to sort the fruit pictures. Choose four or five types and then discuss the use of an "other fruit" category.
  8. When you have agreed on ways to sort the fruit let the students add their families pictures to categories. Glue the pictures onto charts.
  9. Leave the activity open as you challenge the students to write statements about the chart in their own time during the next week or so.

Log in or register to create plans from your planning space that include this resource.