# 3.MD 3: Real Data: Garden Bar Graphs (#204)

A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
Day 204

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. CCSS math standards are listed here in blue, followed by ambient math suggestions.

Measurement and Data 3.MD
Represent and interpret data.
3. Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories.  Solve one-and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs.  For example, draw a bar graph in which each square in the bar graph might represent 5 pets.

What?  5 pets?  Too many artificial scenarios created for the purpose of learning through repetition and “busy work” can be alienating and a turn-off.  John Holt said something to the effect that we cannot expect children to do what we as adults would refuse to do.  Think about it.  Would you willingly agree to spend roughly six hours a day solving problems for made-up situations?  And then take test after test to prove that you learned something?

Or would you rather do something real.  Here’s an example of a real bar graph, courtesy of veggieharvest.com (better than lots of 5 pet squares):

A child-friendly version of this chart could easily fulfill all of the above standard requirements while at the same time serving a very nutritious purpose!  Helping to plan the family garden and learning about seed-starting, planting, and harvesting is the goal, while learning about graphing data is secondary.  But so much more effective when it’s real.  Real data rocks!

Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in tomorrow for more Grade 3 math CCSS and their ambient counterparts.

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