in math is recognized by educators as being key to later success in life. The
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has set ten content standards
for the teaching and learning of mathematics from prekindergarten through
The standards in this series refer to the entire range of grades.
Examples, however, are for prekindergarten to second grade, which includes the
grade I teach.
The NCTM publication Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
has complete explanations of these. For more information, you may visit NCTM at
Bullet points are quotations from the publication. Underneath them are my
suggestions for parents.
principles and standards, part 5
Analysis and Probability Standard
The instructional programs should enable all students to:
questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display
relevant data to answer them.
and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data.
and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data.
and apply basic concepts of probability.
With most children, this is their first experience with seeing a graph,
which takes information and organizes it visually. At school, we take many
surveys and depict the responses of the kids: which color apple is their
favorite, what their favorite animal is, how many children are in their family,
how they got to school that day.
The underlying idea is that they can get useful information from the
graphs they create and find. This is a necessary skill that will be useful in
later years as they try to analyze more complicated ways of collecting
Itís the adults who can lead the children to understand that they can
draw some conclusions from their studies in this area.
The key vocabulary is the understanding of the concept of likelihood. If
six red blocks and six blue blocks are put in a bag and you cannot see which one
you are choosing, what is the likelihood that you would choose a blue one? What
about choosing a red one? Now, change the contents by putting in eleven blue
blocks and one red one. What is the likelihood now of choosing each color? Why
has it changed?