T4T How Many Cubes Can You Grab

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Lesson Excerpt:

How Many Cubes Can You Grab?


Objective: Data Analysis

                  Collecting and analyzing data to answer questions


Theoretical Foundation: Students in grades K-12 must understand the conceptual model for statistics: PCAI. This includes formulating questions that can be answered with data, collecting, organizing and displaying relevant data to answer them, selecting and using appropriate statistical methods to analyze data, developing and evaluating inferences and predictions based on data and understanding and applying basic concepts of probability. First grade students understand how to pose questions and gather data about themselves and familiar situations and organize data by sorting and classifying based upon properties and representing these data using concrete objects and pictures.


Estimated Time: 30 minutes


Materials:  snap cubes unsnapped in containers



1.      Pose the question:  How many snap cubes can you grab at one time?

2.      After asking question, allow students an opportunity to think about and discuss with a neighbor their estimates.  Encourage them to discuss why they are making the estimates that they are making not just give the estimate. 

3.      Next, pass the containers around allowing each student to reach in and grab a handful of cubes.

4.      Have the students to count their cubes as they snap them together.

5.      Then without talking have the students to line themselves up from the least amount grabbed to the greatest amount of cubes grabbed. 

6.      Once students are lined up from least to greatest, have them to sit in a circle in their same positions.

7.      Discuss the differences in the amount of cubes pulled out.  Can they identify any factors that might have made the amounts different or the same? 

8.      As the students are discussing, the teacher can post data on board showing the number of students who pulled what number of cubes. 


Differentiation Suggestions:

1.      Give each student their own container with all the same color snap cubes.  Then after students snap cubes together and line up from least to greatest, they can create a graph on the floor using the bars of cubes.  All of the bars containing the same number of cubes can be turned horizontally and be placed side to side on the floor in columns (by placing each bar horizontally, you are ensuring equal intervals).

2.      The teacher can allow students to place a picture of themselves or a cut out of cube above the number of cubes that they grabbed.


Probing Questions:

1.      Do you think the results would be different if we used the other hand?

2.      What was the least amount of cubes grabbed?  The greatest? 

3.      How many cubes did most students grab?

4.      What would make a difference in the number of cubes grabbed?

5.      Excluding the students in our classroom, who do you think would pull even less than we did?  More?  Why?



1.      How do students’ estimates compare to their actual numbers?  Are they close or way off?

2.      Can students place themselves in the correct order when getting into position from least to greatest?

3.      Are there any challenges when plotting their data on the graph?

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