Pattern Blocks Bar Graph

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SWBAT use a bar graph to answer how many, how many less and how many altogether questions about the data.

Big Idea

My students loved manipulating the pattern blocks to construct graph in this lesson. Getting them to engage in deep analysis of the graph is a bonus!

Rev Them Up

5 minutes

First graders always need play time with manipulatives before you teach them how to use them as math tools. This helps to get the wiggles out and provide them a chance to test hypothesis so that you have their full attention when you begin teaching. Today I will have my students using pattern blocks, so I will start my lesson by passing them out to my class and allow them 5 minutes to play at their desk.

Whole Group Interaction

15 minutes

Need: large collection of pattern blocks and one piece of construction paper per student.

I want my first grade students to collect and use categorical data to answer questions. (1.MD.C.4). Students need to be able to organize data into at least three categories and then be able to answer questions related to total number, how many per category, and compare sets to determine how many more or less. This lesson will provide them practice in all of these. The students will build a picture using pattern blocks, which will provide them with data for a bar graph (they will count how many of each type of pattern block). After the data is collected I will have them analyze the data and answer questions about which category has more or less and how many data points were used in total.

If you do not have pattern blocks, it will be time consuming, but you can go here and print these patterns. I would copy them on colored paper and then ask a parent to cut them apart. Then students could pick what they want and glue them on paper to build their pictures. I will pass out pattern blocks and a piece of construction paper to each student. The paper will serve as a work mat to build a picture. They will use the pattern blocks to construct a picture of their choice.

I tell them: Students, use the pattern blocks I gave you to build a picture on your work mat. If you have too many blocks for your picture, please put the extra back in our bucket. If you need more, please come get them. You have 10 minutes to build a picture.

Independent Practice

10 minutes

Need: Print the bar graph below and the question sheet for each student.

I will go here to copy and print this graph for each student to build a bar graph based on the shapes they chose. Students will be transferring data to graph and then answering questions on the worksheet. 

I told students: You just finished building a picture using pattern blocks. I want you to count how many of each shape you used and show that data on the bar graph. Color your bar graph to show what you used for your picture, then put your pattern blocks back in the bucket. Then, answer the questions.

This activity will allow my students an opportunity to focus their attention and persevere in solving their graph and answering questions related to the graph. (MP1). The questions that students must problem solve for the graph require them to focus their attention, formulate ideas and test those ideas. They must determine which categories each question is focusing on and eliminate others. They must compare some categories together and try alternatives if their assumptions are incorrect. This increases their math proficiency and experiences in solving problems. My first grade students are slowly becoming conscious of what they know and are capable of. My students have completed several bar graphs and related questions already. This lesson will further their self-confidence in building and analyzing bar graphs. You can look at the graphing data pic and graphing data pic II and see how students were transferring their info from their picture to their graph. One student has more shapes than boxes, so extra boxes have been drawn at the top. This student developed their own method after constructing a picture to pull all the shapes off the page and combine them together before coloring in their graph.


5 minutes

I will ask my students to turn to their neighbor and tell them 2 things they learned about from their graph. If they have trouble identifying 2 pieces of information, I encourage them to use some of the questions from the worksheet to spur them on.