What is your favorite Little Bear story?

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SWBAT create a bar graph to match a data set. SWBAT analyze the graph for 3 pieces of information.

Big Idea

Students begin their understanding of graphs by collecting data about how their class felt about a shared experience. Students use Little Bear as a jumping off point to see what a graph tells us about what people in our class think.

Objective and Hook

5 minutes


For this lesson, we will read Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik. This book is a 1st grade Lexile Level and is a class favorite! This is aligned to the CCSS emphasis on literacy across the curriculum. It also allows your class to revisit favorite first grade texts.

Review: I'll review what we have been learning and how this fits in.

We have been using numbers to help us count. Today we are going to see how people in the real world represent numbers on graphs. A graph is a way of showing numbers visually, or in a picture.


Connect: I'll connect this to real world math.

When the principal finds out information, he doesn’t write down all the numbers, he often shows it on a graph. He will show a graph of how many first graders got a 100 on their tests, or how many first graders did their homework. We are going to use graphs to show information about our class.


Objective : Your thinking job today is: How can I create a graph based on data? What does that graph tell me?



Data Collection

10 minutes


Every graph has a question it is trying to answer. We call it a survey question. My survey question for you today is: What is your favorite Little Bear story?

Look at my graph that I made to record this data. What are the 3 choices? How do you know?

  • What will Little Bear Wear?; Birthday Soup; Little Bear’s Wish-We know because on the side, it shows the three different stories


I point out the side of the graph-"Look at the choices we have. I see each of the stories on the side. So when you vote, you will get to choose one of these stories that you like the best."

I'll explain the data collection process. When I collect data, I always have students close their eyes so everyone doesn't copy! "First, we need to take our survey. You can only choose 1 story, and I want to know YOUR favorite story, not your friend’s favorite story. So if you like Birthday Soup, don’t raise your hand for another one!"


I'll present the data by modeling how to read the data and numbers to tell the class how many votes each story got.

 Now I need to record this data on my chart.

**Before recording, guiding questions to ask:

  • 7 people voted for this story. Where will I record that data on my graph?
  • When I color in one box, what does that one box represent? 1 what? Was my question, “How many boxes”? No! (One box represents 1 person who voted)


Think Aloud: "Now stop and think: What does this graph tell me? When I look at this, what do I know right away? Let me tell you what I notice right away. This graph shows me that there are ___ people who voted for Birthday Soup. I'll record that on this list of things that I am learning about our class".

Partner Talk: What is 1 thing you could write about this graph?

I'll give students 5 minutes to write as many things as they can about what this graph is telling them in their math journals.






Data Analysis and Share

10 minutes


After students have a chance to generate a list of things they learn, I'll bring students back together to share what they learned about our class through this data.


Partner Talk: Tell your partner some of the things you learned about our class from this graph.

As students discuss, I'll jot down 1-2 things you have already heard.

After partner talk, I'll get the discussion started by saying: "I already wrote down 2 things this graph shows us about how our class feels about Little Bear! Let’s read them together. Now let’s think about what else we know! We will add all of that information on this chart and then read what we learned about our class together."

Prompting Questions if kids get stuck:

  • What does this graph tell us about how we feel about Story X?
  • What does this graph tell us about what our favorite story is?
  • What does this graph tell us about what our least favorite story is?

I'll make a running list of this information to post in the library center so students can revisit it later!



Independent Practice

15 minutes


5 minutes

I'll wrap up the day just by reviewing the day's objective and allowing students to summarize their learning.

"Today’s thinking job was: How can we show our data on a graph? What does this graph tell us?"

Partner Talk: Tell your partner what you learned about how this class felt about the Little Bear stories.