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Teaching Data Analysis with a Fun Data Collection Lesson

5E Free Printables Data Collection Lesson Plans Trash-ket Bal Challenge

Use a class Trash-ket Ball Challenge to make your upper elementary or middle school data and statistics unit more fun!  This fun data collection activity will get your students up and moving while learning about variability and creating a variety of data displays.  

This lesson is right for you if you teach 4th, 5th, or 6th grade math!

Data Collection Lesson Materials

This lesson needs just a few common supplies:

  • Trash can or other basket
  • Ball of paper or ball
  • Masking tape
  • Measuring Tape
  • Templates from the lesson (Get it sent to your inbox for free at the end of this post!)
5E Data Collection Lesson Plan.  Trash-ket Ball Challenge.  Free Printables!

Preparing your Data Collection Lesson

Place an empty trash can—or any other type of container that your students can throw their “trash-ket balls” into—in an area for each group.  You may want to place it next to a wall so that the ball can rebound into the container.

This activity can be done as a whole class, but to keep students engaged, you may want to have several stations so students can work in groups and not have to wait as long for their turn.

Place a mark on the ground at an equal distance for each group.  You want the students to be far enough back to have to toss the “trash-ket ball” and not just place it in, but close enough to be able to make at least some shots.  Approximately 3 to 5 feet may be a good choice for your class.

Make a “trash-ket ball” for each group.  A “trash-ket ball can be made by simply wadding up a piece of paper into a ball.  Tape can also be rolled around it a little to give it some more weight.

Each student will take a turn throwing the ball into the container.  They will get 10 tries and should record how many times out of the 10 tries they made a basket.

The Lesson Plan


Ask:  What does a basketball challenge have to do with math?

Listen to the students’ replies of ways that basketball and math are related.  You can make a list on an anchor chart.

Ask: We are going to play a game like basketball in class today.  We will have different challenges.  Do you think everyone will do exactly the same on each challenge, or will each student do differently?

Listen to the students’ responses.  They will most likely say that everyone will perform differently.  Emphasize that there will be many different responses and that each one is important for the activities to work.

Demonstrate Activity 1—Super Shots.  Break the students into groups to complete the fun data collection activity.


Complete Activity 1—Super Shots.  Have students complete the challenge and have the students mark their total by placing a dot on the plot that represents their total in the challenge.


Use the dot plot to draw conclusions from the graph using the Analyzing Super Shots page.


Do at least one more additional activity, whichever is appropriate for your grade level.  


Analyze the additional challenges using the included pages.  Check for student understanding of not only the creation of the plots and graphs, but also for the ability analyze the data meaningfully.

Photo of Fun Data Collection Printables

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