Data Processing is an activity in which a group quickly and silently puts itself into a single line continuum based on visible or invisible characteristics (e.g., height – smallest to tallest, birth/month- 1 January to 31 December). This strategy engages students in an active, embodied problem-solving process and offers a strong way to review how to sequence a collection of data points. Students can play from their own experience or physical characteristics or they can play “as if” they were a number, a fact, a date or event from history, etc.
Define a playing area(s) where students have enough room to create a single file line(s). Offer a challenge to the group: How quickly can the group line up from shortest to tallest without making a single sound. Define each end point of the continuum: shortest here and tallest here. Explain if there is a sound the game will stop and the group will have to try again. Ask the group to raise a hand when they believe they have successfully completed the task. Start the timer and begin the activity. Afterwards, reflect on how it went and what strategies were used to be successful. Next, invite students to see how fast they can form an alphabetical line by first name (or surname/last name, depending on desired difficulty) from A to Z without making a sound. Students may need to review the rules of alphabetical order or brainstorm ways to communicate non-verbally prior to playing. When the students are finished, each person says their name (first or last) to collectively check their answers and make any adjustments. There are numerous variations for this strategy. This activity can be timed so groups can try to beat their own “time” each round or compete to beat a set time (i.e., a minute).
- What did you notice about yourself as you participated in this activity?
- How did you find ways to communicate with each other? What were some of the different forms of non-verbal communication the group used?
- Which line up or continuum was easiest to create? Which was the most challenging? Why?
Tips for Playing! If students are playing as someone or something else, give them a card to hold or wear so others can see the data point they represent.
- Remember this is a silent activity. How will you silently communicate your needs to others?
- Open up your awareness to your group members, who may be trying to communicate with you
- Let me know that your continuum is complete by raising your hand silently in the air.
- Divide students into smaller groups so that they compete with each other to see which group can complete the continuum successfully first. Or ALL groups can race the clock so there is less competition between the groups.
- MATH/MUSIC/HISTORY/SCIENCE/READING: Invite the group to step into a role as a collection of data points which need to be sequenced or placed in relationship to each other, for example: numbers on a number line, musical notes on the treble clef, events in history, steps in the scientific method, parts of a story, etc.