The Shape Data Makes: Dot Plots

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SWBAT display data using a dot plot as well as use dot plots to analyze data.

Big Idea

What are the statistics on seeing spots? Displaying data on dot plots.

Curriculum Reinforcer

10 minutes

Students will complete 3 questions to review previous concepts taught in units 1 through 5. The curriculum reinforcer, is a daily practice piece that is incorporated into almost every lesson to help my students to retain skills and conceptual understanding from earlier lessons. My strategy is to use Spiraled Review to help my students retain what they learned during the earlier part of the year. This will help me to keep mathematical concepts fresh in the students mind so that the knowledge of these concepts become a part of students' long term memories.


10 minutes

To open up today's lesson, we will begin by discussing data displays. To facilitate this discussion, I will start off by asking the following questions:


  • What are data displays?
    • The students should be able to tell me, in so many words, that data displays are a way to display data in an organized manner that is visually appealing.
  • What are some specific types of data displays?
    • Students should call out things like circle graph, pictograph, bar graph, line plot, and line graph.
  • What kind of information does each of these data displays provide?
    • The students should be able to tell me that a pictograph uses pictures that represent a specific number of the item being pictured, bar graphs provide categorical data, line graphs show a trend over time, a line plot shows all the data items on a number line, and that a circle graph shows relationships between the statistical categories being displayed.


During this discussion, I am looking to see what prerequisite knowledge students have when it comes to data displays and I am building a setting for the lesson that will follow this opening discussion.

Instructon & Teacher Modeling

10 minutes

In today’s lesson, I will teach my students about three data displays; however, I will concentrate on the dot plot when we move to the exploration portion of this lesson. The data displays that I will present are the dot plot, the box plot, and the histogram. In order to do this I will provide each of my students with a sticky note. On the sticky note, they are to write down the number of siblings that they have. They will then take that sticky note and place it on the board in numerical order. Using these stick notes, I will demonstrate how to create a line plot, a histogram, and a box plot. During this time, the students should be taking notes on an organizer that I will provide them with.

Try It Out

5 minutes

For guided practice, the students will be taking notes on the organizer that they have created for the line plot, histogram, and box plot. On this organizer, the students will have to display the same data on each of the three types of data displays. Then, the students will have to tell me what each data display CAN tell them about the data set it represents and what each data display CANNOT tell them about the data set it represents.


After completing the organizer, I will then have my student find the mean, median, mode, and range of the data set using the dot plot. The students need to recognize that they would not be able to calculate all of these data measures using the other two types of data displays.

Independent Exploration

20 minutes

To provide my student with an opportunity to explore the significance of the dot plot, I will give them the following set of data:


7, 6, 7, 3, 8, 5, 4, 9, 7, 8, 5, 8,9 , 4, 9, 7, 12


Using this data, I will ask my students to create a dot plot. Then, I will give my students a dot plot from which they will need to pull the data. The students will also have to find the mean, median, mode, range, and mean absolute deviation using the data represented by the dot plot. Doing this will demonstrate to students all the type of information that can be pulled from a dot plot.

Closing Summary

15 minutes

To close out this lesson, I will select several students to present each portion of the task that they had to complete during the independent practice portion of this lesson. They will have to use precise mathematical language, defend their solution pathways, and be ready to answer questions.

Those students who are observing will be required to critique, comment, and ask questions during their peers' presentations.

As a ticket out the door, the students will need to answer the following question:

What are the significant characteristics of the dot plot?