Tables
What are the main components of a table?
Tables are made up of intersecting rows and columns. The title identifies the nature of the data and the column and row headings identify the variables being related and may also give the units, so that they do not have to be repeated in cells. In a MyScience investigation, the table may have sufficient columns to allow for the recording of data over a number of trials and so have sufficient space for the final calculation of the mean. The following is an example of a table that could be used for the previously described investigation into the preferred hiding places of slaters.
Effect of light on the preferred hiding place of slaters
Number of slaters |
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Type of hiding place |
Trial 1 |
Trial 2 |
Trial 3 |
Trial 4 |
Lit area of shoebox |
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Dark area of shoe box |
Younger students may use the structure of a table for tallying results and then presenting the final count. Stem and leaf plots use a tabular structure to represent numerical data and are commonly introduced in year 6. They contain at least two columns, one, the stem contains the place value of data. The adjacent ‘leaf’ column combines with the stem data to give the actual numerical value. Definition and identification of the uses of stem and leaf plots with examples is contained at this link. Stem and leaf plots are useful for larger data sets. While retaining a table format, ordered stem and leaf plots give some visual representation of the frequency of some of the groups of data. From an early age, students need to learn about the connections between data in tabular form and graphical representations. As students progress, the examples of the data and forms of graphical representation become more complex and explicit teaching of advantages and disadvantages of various data representations is required.