Tally Graph

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SWBAT organize, represent, and interpret data on a tally chart.

Big Idea

I am having my students practice how to organize, record and analyze data on different forms of graphs. Today they will practice designing a tally chart and interpreting results.

Rev Them Up

5 minutes

I will have my students watch this video on tally charts and bar graphs. I will stop the video before it begins sharing how to transfer data from a tally chart to a bar graph. That will actually be tomorrow's lesson on bar graphs, and I don't want to overwhelm them today. This video is age appropriate and engaging for my students.

When the video is over I will have a discussion with my kids about how to draw tally marks and collect data from friends. The main points I want to cover are:

  • The side slash counts as number 5 and does not just connect the lines together
  • We make a side slash to make it easier to count up the totals in the categories quickly because we can count groups of tallies by 5s.
  • We have to remember when collecting data for a tally chart that we want to ask each person for an answer and record it on our chart like 1:1 matching.

Here is our discussion.

Whole Group Interaction

10 minutes

I will have my class help me create a tally chart of our class' favorite lunch. The choices will be spaghetti, grilled cheese, and macaroni and cheese. I will draw the chart on the chalkboard with the categories labeled. I will ask one student at a time to give me their vote and record it on the tally chart.

When we are finished with the chart, we will count by fives to interpret the data and analyze the results. I make sure to model switching to ones when we get to left over tallies if there are any.

After we find the total for each category and make sure the total for the whole chart adds up to the number of students present, I will ask students:

  • Which category has more?
  • Which category has less?
  • Do any categories have equal amounts?
  • How many more are there in one category than another (we will compare the categories together and match partners up to see how many are left)

When this is complete I will pass out handwriting paper to every student and I will have them design their own tally chart for their favorite type of recess activity and begin gathering data by asking each other for their votes. They will probably design their chart based on the same chart we did together at the board and that is fine. Students will have to record their data as tallies on their charts. Students will be taking their friends vote, which is concrete, and writing it as tally mark on their graph, which is abstract. This is great math practice for students to become more proficient in the use of math symbols, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively (MP2).

Independent Practice

10 minutes

My students have completed a tally chart in the previous section for their favorite type of recess activity. Now I will have them analyze their data sheets using the Tally Chart Worksheet. I will allow them 3-4 minutes to work on the questions alone, then I will allow them to work within their group. I will circulate and have discussions about the different questions on the worksheet with my students.

First graders must have many experiences in collecting data and analyzing it for total number of data points, which category has more/less, and differences/similarities between categories (1.MD.C.4). Students will answer questions and share their thinking to complete this task. 


5 minutes

Your data results will vary depending on what your students answer. I waited to see what each category was gaining and asked a final question for my class to think about and assist me in solving:

How many more votes did basketball get than inside recess?

This way students get one more opportunity to engage with the hardest type of question with support from the group. I also get to see who is still struggling with this kind of question to target future instruction.