Circle Graph Activity

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SWBAT analyze and create circle graphs after rotating through stations.

Big Idea

This lesson will allow the student to work through three stations. The stations will focus on creating and analyzing circle graphs. The students will be using technology to create their graphs along with a hands on activity using M & M’s.

Do Now

10 minutes

The students will work on a circle graph worksheet called summer activities.  In this worksheet, the students will be demonstrating their knowledge of circle graphs by answering questions pertaining to summer camp activities.  Answer will vary and students will need to use their prior knowledge of fractions to help them answer questions. I chose this worksheet because it provides the students some time to get reacquainted with pie charts without it being too stressful.  All students should be able to complete this independently.  I am not anticipating and problems.  Because the worksheets asks students to answer different types of questions, the students will need to apply SMP2 . 



60 minutes

The students will be working in 3 stations.  I’m going to have them work in mixed ability groups today because this is an activity that can be done in groups, but the students will work individually throughout most of the rotations.   I chose stations for this activity so that we could use the computers and I could sit with a group to assist them with their circle graph project.  Each station will be 20 minutes long and they will rotate through all 3.

 This stations activity supports SMP 1,2,3, 4, and 6

Station 1:  Computers

In the computer station, I want the students to be able to work with a circle graph maker.  (  During this time, I want students to make a circle graph using any data they want.  Once they have created their graph, they will print it out.  Their job will be to design a good statistical question that supports their graph.  This will be hypothetical information.  I also want them to come up with 3 questions that can be used to analyze their graph.

For example, a student might say… “ I asked 50 students whether they liked strawberry, vanilla or chocolate ice cream and their results are shown in my circle graph.”

Types of questions (examples)

  1. What flavor is liked the most?
  2. What % of students liked chocolate?
  3. How many more students chose vanilla over strawberry


Station 2:  Independent Station.

My goal for this station is to have the students work on 6 problems as a group.  They can use their own paper to solve the problems as I will want to collect this as evidence of student learning.  The six problems all deal with analyzing and interpreting circle graphs.  Each problem was chosen to get the students to see the connections between circle graphs and fractions, decimals and percents.  Students may use a calculator to solve, but they must show their work and support their answer with an explanation.  Students should work on the problems simultaneously.  They may peer tutor as needed.

Quesiton 1:

Frank and Joe’s Pizza.  This question is asking them to find out how much of the pizza was eaten by Frank and Joe.  They are seeing the visual of a circle graph and the sections and must use their knowledge of adding fractions to answer this question.


Angela’s allowance.  This question is making the connection of decimals to a circle graph.  Some students will reason their way through it by estimating which can be done.  The students will need to see that $20 is the whole amount and that each activity is part of that whole amount.  Students may struggle with this and that’s ok.  Let them rely on estimating to assist in solving it.

Question 3:

Luis’s survey.  This question is asking the students to make a connection between percentages and the amount of students surveyed, which is 50.  Allow students to use a calculator or estimation to help solve.  However, estimation in this case can get them a ball park answer and they need to come up with an exact.

Question 4:

Sheila’s exercising table.  Right away the students should be able to see that G and H are not good representations because “occasionally” is the most answered  from the table.  After that, the students can use estimation to help them solve

Question 5:

Showing 40%.  I liked this question because F and G are very similar in their shading.  Students will need to rely on their fraction to percent equivalents to help them solve this problem.

Quesiton 6:

Band students.  This is a great question to get students really looking at what information is provided in a circle graph.  They will need to pay attention to not only the sections, but how many people were surveyed.   Attending to precision (SMP6) will be key here.

Resources:  circle graph questions , paper, and calculators.

Station 3: M & M activity.

Give each student a package of the fun size M &M’s  and a large sheet of construction paper or butcher block paper. Then ask the students to separate the M&M’s by color on the top of their paper.  When they do this, have them record the number of M&M’s of each color and the total number.  Write this data down on the paper.  They should have recorded a total of seven numbers (6 colors and the total).  Once they have collected the data, have them arrange the M&M’s in a large circle by color.


Once they have their M&M’s arranged by color, have them find the sections of the circle each color will represent. (Before doing this, I would ask the students to find the center of the circle)  Give them time to think about how they are going to find the center.  What do they know about the center?  What passes through the center?  What tool will they need to find the center?

 Have the student figure out the percentage that each section represents by converting the fractions into percents.   Have them record these percentages on the sheet of paper.


Have the students compare graphs with other students nearby.  Compare similarities and differences.  Discuss how circle graphs could be made without having to place the object in the data set in a circle to find the size of each.

Resources:  M&M’s, construction paper, calculators




10 minutes

Today we looked at several different ways to create and analyze circle graphs.

I will be asking the following questions to finalize their learning.  Before bringing the questions whole group, I will have the students do a think-pair-share at their tables. (see strategy folder)

  • When creating a graph from scratch, what were some challenges?  I’m expecting students to tell me that they needed to remember that the whole circle was equivalent to 100% or 1 and depending on how many people they wanted to survey, would change what numbers could be used.  I’m also anticipating that coming up with a good statistical question will be a little difficult for some.
  • When analyzing circle graphs, how can we estimate how much each section is worth.  I’m looking for them to tell me about the benchmarks.  50%,  and 25%.


  • How do circle graphs relate to fractions, decimals and percents?  I’m looking for them to tell me that because circles, fractions, decimals, and percents are all part of a whole and that each of the latter can be represented in a circle graph.