Give each student a worksheet and have them sit at their seats with a pencil and crayons. Say, “Now we are going to gather data about three farm animals. Write one animal in each box on the left: “pigs", “cows" and “chickens".
Then say, “Mr. Green has lots of animals on his farm. You are going to compare the amount of three of the animals. Make tally marks in the right place on your chart with your pencil. He has twelve pigs. (Allow time for students to mark their charts.) He has ten cows. He has twenty-four chickens.
When all the charts are filled in say, “Mr. Green has the most of which animal? Use your green crayon to circle the name of the animal. Mr. Green has the least amount of which animal? Use your red crayon to circle that animal. How many more pigs does he have than cows? Write the number with your blue crayon at the bottom of your paper. Bonus: What is the total amount of pigs, cows and chickens?" (Count the tally marks.)
Tally marks can be used all year to collect data and keep scores of games that you play. Use the opportunity to count the tally marks for practice each time.
When collecting data, choose categories of interest to the students. Expand the number of choices in the categories. Ask the students to suggest categories, too.
Some ideas can include: favorite food, book, school subject, zoo animal, pet, color, toy, tv show, game, sport, holiday or even month of students’ birthdays.