# 2.MD 10: Using Bell Jars & Legos to Graph Data (#173)

A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
Day 173

For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math. Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.” And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times.”

Why ambient? A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful. Today’s standard will be listed in blue, followed by its ambient counterpart.

Measurement and Data 2.MD
Represent and interpret data.
10. Draw and picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories.  Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems.

The following is a re-post from Grade 1, Day 113:

This needs to be very informal. Excel spreadsheets, or formal charts and graphs for that matter, should not be the venue here. More like, three or four small shoeboxes perhaps painted or covered with kraft paper to hold collections, will suit the purpose nicely.  Or use open, wide-mouth mason jars, since they are see-through and easily added to and taken from.

Children are natural collectors, and do not need much encouragement to organize and categorize their treasures. Nature walks are the perfect occasion to gather various specimens like acorns, pine cones, stones, shells, and many more wonders. All children relish the opportunity to look closely at the minutiae of their surroundings in the natural world.

This collection could be accompanied by a small, colorful record keeping notebook. Sections could be created for each category, with the data updated as more specimens or additional categories are added. A color-coding system may be useful, using a different colored pencil for each category. Matching colored index tabs could be added for easy perusing.

All junior scientists are more than happy to talk about their collections, and could be guided to be consistent in their documentation. One large page (kept separately and inserted into the notebook) could list all of the categories side by side, color coded and updated as needed.

Using legos or duplos is a wonderful, 3-D way to introduce the concept of bar graphing, and could be used as a visual for solving simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems.  Do keep word problems vital, concrete, alive and real, however.