What is your favorite snack?

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SWBAT use graphs to analyze whether a statement is true or false. SWBAT use graphs as evidence for a persuasive letter.

Big Idea

Students begin to understand that graphs are used to persuade. In this lesson, students collect classroom data, make sure all the statements that they hear about the data are true, and then try to convince the cafeteria staff to buy us more goldfish!

Objective and Hook

5 minutes

This lesson aligns to the Common Core shift towards more rigorous experiences and writing across the curriculum. Throughout this lesson, students are writing and also using data to persuade, a very rigorous level of thinking!


Over the last two days we have been graphing about how our class feels about Little Bear and our favorite pets. We have recorded the interesting things we are learning because of these graphs! Today we are going to use the graph to figure out if someone is right or wrong about information we are giving.


People use graphs to convince us of things. For example, we are making a class graph about our favorite snacks today. We are going to give this to the cafeteria staff so we can convince them to get more of our favorite snack! We have to be able to use the graph to prove if a statement is right or wrong so that we can make sure the information we are hearing matches what the graph and the data shows. The numbers don’t lie. 

Objective : Your thinking job today is: Which statements are true, which are false and how do I know for sure?


Class Data Collection

15 minutes

At this point in the lesson, I want students to understand the distinction between true and false and start thinking about how we use that academic language in graphing.

First, I'll set up the definitions:

"Before we get started today, let’s learn about two important words we us to help us think and reason: True and False.

  • True means that it is right, we can prove that it is correct.
  • False, means it is wrong. We can prove that it is incorrect, or not true.


True and false are opposites. Let’s practice using these words before we do our graph. If something is true, yell TRUE when I say go. If it is false, yell FALSE when I say go." I'll do a series of fun statements such as "We are in first grade" and "We are in Kindergarten". 

I'll connect these words to graphing by saying, "We are going to evaluate, or decide, if things we are saying about our graphs are TRUE or FALSE."

To set up our class data collection, I want students to be invested in why the survey question matters. I'll reiterate that the data we collect will help us convince the cafeteria staff that we need to get more of that snack.

Before collecting the data, we will look carefully at the graph. 

Focus Question: Look at my graph that I made to record this data. What are the 4 choices? How do you know?

Pretzel, apple, goldfish, and oranges are our choices. I see all 4 choices along the side.

I'll collect student data. Because students have already been graphing for a few days, they will then record all the data on their own personal graphs. 


Class Data Analysis: True or False?

10 minutes

I'll bring students back together and have students bring their individual graphs with them.

"Now we are going to look at this graph and decide if different statements are true or false. I am going to say a statement, or sentence, about our data. You need to look at your graph and evaluate if that statement is true or false. You are going to tell a partner what you think and point to evidence from your graph."


I'll model one with a partner. "The statement is 'Apple has the most votes. 'Is that true or false?" I'll model pointing to the graph to prove that the statement is false. “That is false because right here I see that goldfish has the most votes."

 To set students up for the dialogue needed to explain their thinking, I will write the following sentence stem on the board:

The statement is ________.  I know because __________________________.


I'll have students work with partners after each statement and bring the students back together to share out one exemplar statement. This is aligned to the CCSS emphasis on student collaboration and discussion. 

Possible statements I'll use for the partner talk.


  • Pretzels has ____ votes.


  • Oranges has the least votes.


  • The class’ least favorite is _______.


  • The class’ favorite is __________.


  • Push: Pretzels has more votes than apples.


  • More people liked goldfish than pretzels.


Independent Practice

15 minutes

I'll give students a different set of data and tell them it came from another class of first graders. Students use graph to evaluate statements. Students sort statements into the true/false column. Early finishers write their own additional true/false statements. 

Group A (In need of intervention):

Students in this group may need a "reading buddy" to help them be successful on this activity.

Group C (Extention group):

This group has a more difficult sort. These statements focus on comparison and total number of data points.


See attached video for an example of a teacher/student dialogue!


10 minutes

I'll close out the learning by reviewing the day's objective: "We looked at true and false statements today about our graphs. This is important because we have to make sure the statements we are making about a graph are true. The true statements are the ones we can use to help persuade the cafeteria staff in our letter about afternoon snacks!"

The students and I will do a Shared Writing experience and write a letter to the cafeteria staff about our findings. The goal of this portion of the lesson is for students to use the graph as evidence for why the cafeteria staff should purchase more of the preferred snack. Common Core emphasizes using a variety of types of writing in the classroom; here students are practicing persuasive writing!

See the attached picture of the letter my class wrote!