Represent Data

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SWBAT solve problem situations by making a graph.

Big Idea

Let's get this graph going! In this lesson students will create a bar graph and tally chart.

Activating Strategy

10 minutes

I begin this lesson by watching the video “Math Monsters: Data Collection”.  I use this video because it shows the various ways to gather data and put the data into charts and graphs. 

One of the difficult portions of MD.C.4 is having students ask and answer questions about graphs.  In this lesson students will come up with their own data question and create a chart and graph using the data collected.

As children use different methods to represent data, they must be careful to label their graphs and charts accurately.  In this lesson, children will learn how to convert information from a tally chart to a bar graph. They will also discover the importance of labeling and attending to precision (MP.6).

Teaching Strategies

15 minutes

After watching the video, I direct the class to a chart that we have created titled “I Love Spring”.  We review the data collected in the chart by comparing each category.  We discuss which one is greater than, less than and add them together.  After discussing the chart, I ask the students:

  • What does this graph show? (It shows the things that we love about spring.)

I review the elements of our graph: the title of the graph and the labels.  I then display the Represent Data.ppt slides and begin discussing the graphs.  Looking at the first slide, I guide the discussion:

Brad sees many animals at the park. How can you find how many animals Brad sees?

Work through the Problem Solving graphic organizer together. Ask the following questions to lead children through the solution.

  • What do you need to find? (how many animals Brad sees)
  • What information do you need to use? (The number of rabbits, birds, and deer in the picture)
  • How can you make a bar graph to show the different numbers of animals? (I can count how many of one kind of animal. Then I can color in a bar on the graph to show that number next to the animal’s picture. I can do that for each kind of animal.)
  • How can you make sure you count each animal in the picture? (I can draw an X on each animal as I count so I know which ones I have counted.)
  • How does the bar graph help you solve the problem?  (I can see how many of each animal there are, so I just have to add those numbers together to find how many animals Brad sees.)
  • How many animals does Brad see? (11 animals)

I then display the second slide, and hand out the student worksheets.  I read question 1 with children. I then use these questions to guide them through the problem.

  • What do you need to find? (how many train cars Jake has)
  • What information will you use? (Jake has 4 more train cars than Ed. Ed has 3 train cars.)
  • How will making a bar graph help you find how many train cars Jake has? (I know Ed has 3 train cars, so I color his bar first. I know Ben has 2 fewer train cars than Ed, so I color in his bar to show 2 fewer than 3, which is 1. I know Jake has 4 more train cars than Ed, so I color his bar to show 4 more than Ed. I can see on the bar graph that Jake has 7 train cars.)

Independent Practice

30 minutes

I work through the second problem on the worksheet in a similar manner.  I then review the question number 3 on the worksheet and direct students to ask 10 classmates about their eye color.  I then have children complete the remainder of the Represent Data_worksheet.docx.


5 minutes

To close out the lesson, I have students get their math journals and write the names of 3 types of animals. They then count the letters in each name and make a bar graph showing the letters for each animal.