Graphing: Task

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Students will be able to represent a real world mathematical situation in a graph.

Big Idea

If you can think it, you can graph it!


15 minutes

In this lesson I will be having my students create their own question with a group, collect data, make a table, and create a graph.  In the opener of the lesson I would like to model for the students how I went from the beginning to the end in this graphing task. 

The example I choose to use was to ask students what level on the clipchart they ended the day on yesterday.  The clipchart in my classroom is a positive behavior system that my school has adopted.  There are seven different levels.   

I go through the thought process of how I choose this and then show them the rest of the process collecting data, making a table, and making a graph.

Alright, I need to come up with a question I can ask people that will give me some data that I can make into a graph.  Ahh, what about the clipchart?  I guess I could ask all of you guys what level you ended on yesterday and put that information into a table. 

I create the table and then begin to ask the students the question.

Alright, what level did you end on yesterday?

I continue to collect answers from the class while tallying the information in the table.  Once I have completed the tallies, I go back and write numbers for the tallies.  From there I show students how I began to think of how I turned my table into ordered pairs for the graph.  Finally, I showed them how I created my graph.

This will be an engaging activity for the students because they can make a connection to the data being presented.  They were part of the collection process.  I suggest thinking of something similar to use with your students so that they can make the connection as well.


30 minutes

It’s the students turn to come up with a question and go through the graphing process.  I allow the students to work in groups of 3 or 4 peers of their choosing.  I have included a video outlining the thought process of grouping in this activity. 

I have the groups think of a question they can ask the other classmates during this class period.  It is important to have the students check in with you when they have their topic so you can help them think through any deficiencies in their task.  Once the students have cleared the question with me, I let them begin creating their table.

I allow the groups some time to create the question and table.  I try to avoid having students start asking their question until the majority of the groups are finished with the first part of the task. 

Alright, now that everyone has created their question and table, you can begin to ask others the question your group came up with.

The students are really excited to collect their data.  The question they have created is real to them and they are eager to ask the question. 

Once you have collected all your data, go back to a desk and begin creating a graph to represent the information.  Make sure to include all the items that are necessary to a graph.  I want you to really focus on labeling the axis’s correctly.

Although this is a very student lead task, the groups will need some clarifying when they begin graphing.   I circulate the room and check for misconceptions and assist students when needed.


15 minutes

As a closer I have students present their data to the class and ask them if they can make any observations about their data.  While students are presenting their data I focus on the coordinate grid parts of the graph.

Who can tell me what this group put on their x-axis?  What does this point on the graph mean?

It is important to focus on the positives on the graphs that were created.  The purpose of this lesson was to see if the students could create points on a graph in the first quadrant.  If it’s not a perfect graph, focus on the things that are correct about the graph.  Ask students how they could have done parts differently if they are incorrect in the presentation.