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Ladybird Count

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Ladybird Count

Some children were playing a game.

They collected cards with ladybirds on them.

Here are the cards they had at the end of the game:



3 ladybirds 3 ladybirds
1 ladybird no ladybirds


2 ladybirds 1 ladybird
3 ladybirds 2 ladybirds



2 ladybirds 3 ladybirds
2 ladybirds 3 ladybirds



no ladybirds no ladybirds
3 ladybirds 1 ladybird



1 ladybird 3 ladybirds
3 ladybirds 3 ladybirds


Make a graph or picture to show how many ladybirds each child had.


Why do this problem?

This problem offers children some raw data that they have not had to collect themselves. This has some advantages: you know that everyone has the same information without worrying about the accuracy of their recording methods. This means the focus can be analysis and representation rather than collection.

Possible approach

First, the children need to begin to make sense of the situation. It is probably helpful to ask them to think about the pictures and to talk to each other about what the problem means. Offer them plenty of opportunities to think, without insisting on quick answers. After they have had this chance, find out their ideas and, if need be, they can be encouraged to focus by asking them how many ladybirds each child has.

From this point the question concentrates on how the data could be represented. Be prepared to consider a variety of responses: the solutions do not need to be bar charts or pictograms. Their suggestions will provide insight into the children's own methods of recording. Engaging in conversation with them about their representation may be essential and this is a great way to probe their previous experiences of handling and recording data.

The resulting representations would make a meaningful display.

Key questions

How many ladybirds does each child have?
How could you show that on a picture or chart?

Possible extension

Some children could be challenged to show the information in more than one way. They may even be able to articulate which representation they think is best and why.

Possible support

Some children may prefer to represent their ideas using media other than paper, for example cubes, counters etc.