Have you ever had that moment in school when you think to yourself, “When am I ever going to use this in real life?” I recently had the opportunity to visit my son’s first grade classroom and bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world application. My final analysis: when kids connect concept to application in a fun way, their interest sparks and their minds are capable of great understanding.
During the school’s “meet the teacher” night, I noticed a poster board with tally marks and sticky notes. It was titled, “A survey is a data collection tool or question that can be used to gather information.”
Once the teacher saw me snapping a photo of it, the conversation sparked, and she asked if I would visit her classroom to talk with the children about how surveys are applied and used every day in the real world.
While preparing my presentation, I admit that I wasn’t sure what the kids would like to know or how much data was ‘too much.’ I thought, “What better way to explain market research than to do market research?” So we conducted a mini research study as a class. Pretending that Nabisco hired us to find out what flavors of Pringles children like, we sought to discover flavor interest and preference. Taking tallies and casting votes turned into graphing results through bar charts made of building blocks.
We asked the questions, “What are these results telling us about flavor preference?” and “What should Nabisco do with this data?” The kids’ answers were both accurate and inspiring. They understood that while there was a favorite, the least favorite wasn’t necessarily undesired. As a group, they concluded that Nabisco should make more sour cream and onion than other flavors. We even discovered a little color bias during the voting process which led us to decide that the color red appeals most to children. (I’ve provided an info freebie, but you will have to pay the class to know the exact percentages, as we also learned the value of data.)
In the end, Mrs. Ramirez’s first grade class unanimously raised their hands when I asked if they want to use the math they’re learning in school today to be an analyst when they grow up. Sure, emotions may have been high, and maybe I took advantage of the moment, but my job as a Quantitative Research Analyst is pretty fun so I’m content in my land of possibilities where a small fire was lit in the hearts of 20 future analysts. All it took was a little understanding of how classroom concepts meet real-world application.
Quantitative Research Analyst