Computing KS2: Working with data

This short film explores how data is collected using digital devices in response to questions, and how it is organised into tables, records and fields on a computer system.

The film explores a real life scenario about using data to help run a zoo. It explores how data is collected using digital devices in response to questions, and how it is organised into tables, records and fields on a computer system where is can be shared with other users.

It then shows how this data can be analysed and manipulated to answer questions about the zoo animals.

The film ends by reminding us that mistakes can be made when entering data into a computer system so we always need to check for errors.

This short film is from the BBC Teach series, Cracking Computing.

Teaching Notes

Data or information is all around us at school and in the wider world, and there are many opportunities to collect and analyse it. It is useful to take notice of when this happens (e.g. during the school registration, when sorting out teams in PE, when borrowing books from the library), and use the correct terminology whenever possible (e.g. database, field, record, chart, graph, table, etc.

It is important that data collection activities start with a relevant question that the data will help to answer. For example:

  • We have some money for new class books, what authors do we prefer?
  • There are always apples left over in the fruit boxes after break, what fruit should we be asking the kitchen to provide to avoid waste?

Tools like spreadsheets are a useful way of creating simple electronic databases that can sort and organise collections of data and produce simple bar charts and line graphs. They may look intimidating but are actually quite straightforward to use and pupils will love the way they automate tasks and allow speedy sorting and filtering.

Other subjects

Science: Electronic data handling tools are useful to support the organisation and analysis of data collected during scientific investigations, such as measuring plant growth in different conditions (line graphs), or measuring the number of paper clips attracted by different types of magnet (bar chart), or measuring the nutritional composition of different foods (pie chart).

Maths: Using computers to support data handling can be part of maths lessons on data handling, once the basic concepts have been covered.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching:

  • KS2 computing curriculum in England
  • Technologies curriculum area at 2nd Level in Scotland
  • KS2 digital competence framework in Wales
  • KS2 using ICT cross-curricular skill in Northern Ireland

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