Making a Tally Chart

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SWBAT count objects and create a tally chart

Big Idea

Students build towards making their own bar graph by using data to make a tally chart.


10 minutes

I start class by dividing students into groups of four or five.  I give each group a bag of objects to sort and count (cubes, shapes, tangrams, beans, etc.).  I tell each group that they need to sort the items and count how many are in each group (I give them a white board to tally their results)

I allow students 3-5 minutes to work.  When finished, I ask students to share out their findings by explaining which object they have the most of and which they have the least. 

I start class with this activity to engage students and to give students practice with sorting objects. 

Introduction to New Material

10 minutes

Today, we are going to learn how to make a tally chart to count items in a group.  By the end of today you will be able to tally objects and make your own table.   

 I am going to model how to make a tally chart using one group’s findings. 

 Model how to set up a table with two columns and how to use tally marks to represent each object. As I model I make sure that students are understanding how a tally chart has two columns,  that a tally chart uses tally marks,  and that I need to double check my counting so that my tally chart is accurate. 

Guided Practice

15 minutes

Now you are going to work in your groups to make a tally chart about the items that you have counted.  Make sure that you are being extremely accurate as you count.  (The group whose data I used during the introduction to new material can either recreate their tally chart or work with another group to make a tally chart.) 

As students work, I circulate to make sure students are (1) creating a chart that accurately represents their items, (2) accurately tallying items,  (3) accurately counting items and transferring information to their chart.

When finished, I have one group share out their tally chart and any strategies they used to make sure that they were counting accurately.

We’ve spent time today counting and tallying objects.  Sometimes we have to count and tally pictures.  During your independent practice you will make a tally chart using pictures.  You can use your same strategies that you used while counting objects

Independent Practice

10 minutes

Independent Practice is tiered by understanding of this skill.  I encourage students to check their work thoroughly and attend to precision in their work (MP6)

Group A: In need of Intervention

Students in group A will count and tally objects in a picture.  For these students, a pre-drawn tally chart will be provided. 

Group B: Right on track!

Students in group B will count and tally object in a picture.  Students in group B will construct their own tally chart. 

Group C: Extension

Students in group C will count and tally objects in a picture. Students in group C will construct their own tally chart and will also be challenged to make their own bar graph. 

During independent practice, I will circulate between groups watching to see how students are being accurate in their work and checking in with students who are struggling to be accurate. 


10 minutes

Now you are going to show me what you know on an exit ticket.  Make sure that you are accurate in your work!  

As students work on their exit ticket, I will circulate to determine which students are struggling and where any breakdowns  of knowledge are. 

If time permits at the end of the lesson, we will review the exit ticket as a class and I will allow students to check a teammates' work.  This process will enable students to get instant feedback on their work and will enable me to tackle misconceptions.