Lesson 17

Organizing Data

Lesson Narrative

To open the unit on finding associations between two variables, students are asked to consider a list of unsorted data to notice any patterns or associations. Later, students organize the table to make the pattern more clear and then see a scatter plot as a graphic representation of data that can make the association even more obvious. The last activity in the lesson asks students to match different representations of data (MP7) and stresses the importance of labeling each representation so that the meaning is not lost. Scatter plots will be used throughout the unit to help students recognize various associations between variables.

Teacher Notes for IM 6–8 Math Accelerated
Due to the sequence of IM 6–8 Math Accelerated, this lesson is no longer the first lesson of a unit as stated in the narrative. To help students transition from working with linear equations to focusing on data, tell them that most situations in reality are not as precise as the points and lines they have been working with. Measurement errors, slight irregularities, or other influences may mean that even when variables should be in a proportional relationship, the points may not fall perfectly in a line. They will examine ways to recognize when it still makes sense to find a linear model that will approximate the actual data and how to use that model to get additional information about the situations.

Learning Goals

Teacher Facing

  • Comprehend that a “scatter plot” represents data with two variables and does not represent a function.
  • Coordinate (orally and in writing) representations of data in scatter plots and tables.
  • Describe (orally and in writing) patterns in representations of data in scatter plots and tables, and use these representations to make predictions.

Student Facing

Let’s find ways to show patterns in data

Required Materials

Required Preparation

Provide one copy of the blackline master from the activity Tables and Their Scatter Plots for each student.

Learning Targets

Student Facing

  • I can organize data to see patterns more clearly.

CCSS Standards


Building Towards

Glossary Entries

  • scatter plot

    A scatter plot is a graph that shows the values of two variables on a coordinate plane. It allows us to investigate connections between the two variables.

    Each plotted point corresponds to one dog. The coordinates of each point tell us the height and weight of that dog.

    scatter plot

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