I start class by reviewing the three kinds of graphs we have studied this year:
1) Bar graphs
3) Line plots
As I review each kind of graph, I show a visual to remind students what the graph looks like and how the graph is laid out.
I ask the following guiding questions:
1) What kind of graph is this?
2) How do we read this graph?
3) How do we make this kind of graph?
4) How are these graphs similar and different?
I explain to my class that we are going to have a chance to make line plots, pictographs, and bar graphs by graphing the contents of our snack mix (I used Chex Mix for this activity but you could use any kind of snack mix or group of items that are easily sortable).
What should we do first so that we can graph our data?
Students might suggest counting the contents of the snack mix, sorting it, or making a tally chart.
In order to accurately graph our data we need to make a tally chart. In your partners you will make a tally chart to show the contents of your snack mix.
When finished, you and your partner can start to make your graphs. Make sure that you are paying attention to what graph you are creating and working to be extremely accurate.
NOTE: Some students might struggle to make an appropriate key for the pictograph or to label the numbers on the Y axis of the bar graph correctly (i.e: they might not know to skip count by 2s or 5s). If this is becoming an issue, I briefly discuss how to make the key or how to label the Y axis during the introduction to new material or while students are working.
I divide my class into heterogenous groups of 2-3. I give each group a cup full of snack mix and a graphing packet. I chose to make the groups heterogenous so that students could support each other's learning.
Students work to tally their snack mix and then start to build their graphs.
As students work, I circulate to check for understanding and ask guiding questions:
1) What are you doing to make sure your work is accurate?
2) What kind of graph is this? How is this graph different from the other graphs we have learned about this year? How is it similar?
Now that you have had a chance to build your graphs, we are going to take a few minutes to answer some reflection questions about our work.
I give students 5-7 minutes to independently answer the reflection questions. I then use these reflection questions to lead a discussion about the different kinds of graphs, how they are similar and how they are different.