Set the stage by explaining to students that they will be creating a glyph. A glyph is a flexible data representation. There is an example of a glyph in the NCTM lesson. Tell the students that the class will be collecting data based upon their name. Tell them we will be using a spreadsheet to record the information. You can pick a student to record the information. (It would be good to choose someone that has good keyboarding experience.)
I found this lesson in the illuminations website and thought it would be a great introduction to describing data. The students will be asked a variety of questions about their name and drawing a visual representation on a piece of paper(glyph). When students are done, they can display the glyph’s on the board or they can share them in their groups. Then you will collect the data in a spreadsheet and by looking at the spread sheet and glyphs, students will be able to determine which glyph belongs to what person. (See NCTM illuminations document)
Resources: NCTM illuminations document
After the students created their glyphs, I had them work with their tablemates to see how many ways they could sort their glyphs to tell a data story. I took examples from the groups and then I brought it to the whole group. I asked the whole group how they were separating their data and then I asked the group to join them. We then looked at our whole class and described the data. They had some fun with this.
Use the student questions from the NCTM activity as a close.