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Monday, December 5, 2011

Conducting a Survey with 7-year-olds

As part of our current topic Healthy Eating, the children carried out a survey to find out what foods other students in the school eat and how often. At first I asked the children if they knew what a survey was in Spanish (encuesta) but they weren't sure what one was, so I explained that it consisted of asking people questions to find out information. We were going to ask questions about food to see if the students in our school were healthy eaters or not.

As the children had not come across a survey or questionnaire before, I gave them some sample questions and the class decided that they would be good questions to ask. I divided the children into groups of three and asked them to come up with five questions about different foods e.g.

                Do you eat fish?     Do you drink milk?     Do you eat vegetables?

We then drilled these questions with a chant:

Do you eat fish?
Yes, I eat fish!
Do you drink milk?
Yes, I drink milk!
Do you eat peas?
No, no I don't!

The children really enjoyed the chant, and we did several versions with different food items and with different dynamics such as teacher vs whole class, girls vs boys etc.

By this point they were all able to ask "do you" questions with no problems. I gave them a worksheet in groups with a table. In the first column they had to choose the different foods they wanted to ask questions about. The second column was to record YES or NO and the third column was to write down how many times a week.

In the following lesson, we practised asking questions to find out how many times a week people ate different foods, and the possible answers (one, two, three times, every day). I didn't want to complicate things to much so I avoided teaching ONCE, TWICE. We were then ready to go and ask the questions.
We went to another class and each group went to ask different people. Because the other class were teenagers, I allowed the groups to stay together to ask their questions. The children said they enjoyed asking questions to the other class and asked to do it again! So I said they could go to another class in the following lesson. This time the groups split up and asked questions individually.

The next stage was to compile the results. The members of each group got together and added up all the YES answers to form a total number of people that eat each food. When they had done this, I showed them an empty bar chart and started to complete it with examples that the children gave me. When they were clear about how to make a bar chart using their figures, each group started work.

In the final lesson, the groups finished their charts and then presented their results to the class, saying:

    Eleven people eat sweets. Nine people eat carrots. Twelve people eat chicken.

Each group compared their results with those of the group that was presenting, telling the class of any differences.

The children really enjoyed this project and I think it was because they were really using English to communicate with other people. Conducting a questionnaire and compiling the results is a challenging task for this age group but they seemed to relish in the fact that they were doing something new, that they had never even done in Spanish. They all managed to ask people questions with only a little prompting, and they were all able to work in groups to produce the end results. All in all, a successful project!
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