Putting It All Together
With this activity, children learn how numerical information can help them
better understand their community.
WHAT YOU NEED
WHAT TO DO
- Tell students that they can use numbers to understand their community and
to compare it to other communities. Pose the following questions and briefly
discuss with students what their responses tell about a community:
- Given what you know about city and suburban neighborhoods, which is
likely to have the most stores per block?
- If you compared a small town and a large city, which would you expect
to have the most traffic lights?
- Where would fire hydrants be closer together, in the country or in the
- With the group, plan an exploratory walk around one or two blocks that
can be considered fairly typical of your community. If students have been
working with area maps, use those to plan the route. Duplicate and pass out
to students a number information sheet or some other recording sheet.
- Set up your objectives beforehand. Assign a pairs of students to a specific task (one to
count/measure and the other to record the number information).
Adapt any of the following to your area:
- Make a separate count of the number of stores, houses, and office
- Count how many buildings have more than one story. Record how many floors there are in each one.
- Count the number and frequency of bus stops or other aspects of public transportation.
- Count the number of trash containers, telephone poles, and street
- Count the fire hydrants. Estimate/measure how far apart they are.
- Measure how long it takes to walk around a typical block.
- Count parking spaces, and determine how many are free or metered.
- Determine where the parking meters are located and record the parking rate.
- Count the traffic lights and record where were they located.
- When you return to the classroom, have students complete their
number information sheets by telling what they saw and then drawing a
conclusion from those numbers. Example:
NUMBER INFORMATION: On our walk, we counted 7 stores on one block. There was
1 office building. That added up to 8 buildings.
CONCLUSION: There are more stores than office buildings on this block. That
means that most of the cars parked there probably belonged to shoppers who
don't live close by.
Encourage students to suggest how they could present all the information
they collected so that is easy to read and understand. Divide the class into
groups, each of which presents the data in a different way (for example, chart,
graph, written summary). Duplicate the completed number information sheets so that each
group has access to each other's information.
Students can make up number problems using the data they collected and ask
classmates to solve them. For example: There were 7 stores. Three people work
in each store. How many people work in all the stores put together?
Communicate with another class in a different community. Ask those students to make a
similar survey, then compare information.
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