In this lesson, children analyze data that has been recorded in a picture graph. A picture graph uses pictures or symbols to represent data, and each symbol may stand for a set number of things.
The way I approach this measurement and data standard (MD.C.4) is by thinking about the most common stumbling block that I anticipate my students coming across, those how many more or how many fewer questions about the data in the graph. These questions are hard because they are so abstract and complex: students are looking at a representation already, and now they have to interpret two or more parts of the graph at the same time. The way I help scaffold for students is by helping them see these data as concrete models. I usually use unifix cubes and have them model out the data. This gives them a good entry point into this complex kind of question about the information being presented by the graph (MP1).
I start the lesson by reading the book “Miss B's Class Makes Tables and Graphs”. This is a great story to begin the introduction to reading graphs. It begins with gathering information and turning the information into tally marks, then converting it to a graph.
If this book isn't available, then any book that is related to charts and graphs will suffice. The idea is to get the students engaged and curious about charts and graphs.
I then show them a group of 10 green connecting cubes and 8 blue connecting cubes (I put them in a basket or bowl so that they are all mixed up). I ask the students:
I then connect the cubes together by color and ask the students:
I then read the following problem aloud to the class.
There are 2 green cubes and 4 blue cubes. How many more blue cubes are there than green cubes?
Have children model the problem using blue and green connecting cubes. Encourage children to line up each set of connecting cubes so that they can compare them one-to-one. Guide the discussion:
Then, using the PowerPoint (Read Picture Graphs.pptx), I point out the picture graph at the top of the page, and guide children through the model with the following questions.
I go through the same type of questioning for the second slide. This slide is the same as the first problem on the independent practice worksheet. Before starting the independent practice, I make sure children read the sentence below the picture graph to reinforce that each stick figure stands for one child’s choice of whether he or she prefers to see animals or go on rides at the fair.
I distribute Read Picture Graphs_worksheet.docx for the independent practice portion of this lesson.
In this video, a student is using subtraction to determine which column has more or less on her picture graph.
For struggling students, draw the following picture graph on the board:
Ask the students:
To close out this lesson, I hand out a post-it note to each student, and have them write their name on their post-it. We will use this information to create a class graph about our favorite thing about Spring. Students then talk to their shoulder partner and tell them something about the information on the graph.