Volume 11, Number 1

The Potential of Data Collection and Analysis Activities for Preschoolers: A Formative Study with Teachers


Ashley E. Lewis Presser, Jessica M. Young, Michelle Cerrone, Lindsay J. Clements and Heather Sherwood, Education Development Center, USA


To support preschool children’s learning about data in an applied way that allows children to leverage their existing mathematical knowledge (i.e. counting, sorting, classifying, comparing) and apply it to answering authentic, developmentally appropriate research questions with data. To accomplish this ultimate goal, a design-based research approach [1] was used to develop and test a classroom-based preschool intervention that includes hands-on, play-based investigations with a digital app that supports and scaffolds the investigation process for teachers and children. This formative study was part of a codesign process with teachers to elicit feedback on the extent to which the series of investigations focused on data collection and analysis (DCA) and the teacher-facing app were (a) developmentally appropriate, (b) aligned with current preschool curricula and routines, (c) feasible to implement, and (d) included design elements and technology affordances teachers felt were useful and anticipated to promote learning. Researchers conducted in-depth interviews (n=10) and an online survey (n=19) with preschool teachers. Findings suggest that teaching preschoolers how to collect and analyze data in a hands-on, play-based, and developmentally appropriate way is feasible and desirable for preschool teachers. Specifically, teachers reported that the initial conceptualization of the investigations were developmentally appropriate, aligned with existing curricular activities and goals, was adaptable for the age and developmental readiness of young children, and that the affordances of the technology are likely to allow preschool children to engage meaningfully in data collection, visualization, and analysis. Findings also suggest that this approach to supporting preschool teachers and children to learn about and conduct DCA merits further study to ensure productive curricular implementation that positively influences preschoolers’ learning. These findings were used to revise the investigations and app, which showed positive outcomes when used in classrooms [2], which add to the scant literature on DCA learning for pre-schoolers and provides insights into the best ways to integrate technology into the classroom.


Early childhood, Mathematics, Data, Teachers, Technology.