Data handling in KS1 is one of those topics that has troubled me for a long time in that I could never find activities that were both interesting for the children to do and which actually taught them some transferrable skills.
For example, have a click through the sections of this sample unit of work designed by the QCA about labelling and classifying objects for Year 1 children and you won't fail to notice the abscence of much actual work to be done on a computer. Inspiring stuff isn't it?
Well, after lots (and by this I mean do mean lots) of effort searching for not only decent software but also for software that is child-friendly, I am now willing to share with you my favourite 5 resources for teaching data handling to young children (in no particular order):
1. 2Do It Your Self This software lets children make their own sorting activity very easily by themselves - all they do is either paint/insert a selection of pictures, name the sorting criteria and click play to quickly produce their own game.
2. PowerPoint I love creating drag-and-drop sorting and labelling activities for children in PowerPoint. It has the advantage over 2DIY that you can be more creative and include as many items to move about as you want, although this is probably best left to teacher-made as apposed to child-made activities at this level. Here's an example I use that challenges to children to try sorting objects made out of different materials into as many categories as they can find.
3. 2Calculate This program lets children create their own tables on the computer quite easily, automatically fills in the squares (yellow for text, red for numbers) and allows them to click a button and produce a quick bar chart of the information. Fairly basic, but does what it's meant to. Here's an example of a picture I give the children to try examining using the program - as you can see they can draw graphs to find out many different things, such as which animal is the most frequent or how many legs are the most frequent.
4. Furbles I've only got the free demo version at the moment, but it does all that I need it to. Select how many Furble characters you want to create, define what their colours should be, how many eyes they should have and what shapes they can be and watch in amazement as the program then generates a random clan of the little creatures. Children just love moving them around the screen and exploring how many different ways of sorting them they can find. Just lovely. There's also the possibilty of getting them to try presenting tables and graphs about their clan using 2Calculate (see this sheet I've made).
5. Pictogram I introduce this program to children in reception first where they create a group pictogram to present the results of a vote, before building on this in KS1 by showing children how this can then be converted into a block and bar chart at the click of a button. Whilst it does have a very good selection of pre-installed data sets read for children to work with (e.g. fruits, vehicles, hair colours etc.) it also lets you create your own data sets as well quite easily so I can create pictograms with any sets of pictures I want (e.g. 2D shapes). A super program that is so versatile that I've even seen it used in a Year 6 classroom.