Getting to Know You - Graphing Practice

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SWBAT collect and analyze data through the use of data tables and graphs.

Big Idea

In this lesson students harness the power of the internet and utilize their data table and graph creation skills to make graphs to display real world data.


5 minutes

I begin class with a review of the graphing information discussed in the Graphing - Flipped lesson.  I state a characteristic and then ask the students to name the type of graph being described.  For instance, I ask the students what type of graph would be used to display change over time, such as the growth of a plant.  I also ask the students to describe data that could be displayed in each type of graph.  For instance, asking them to describe various types of data that we could put into a bar graph.  This type of questioning is important because it requires students to consider various aspects of graphing and to think critically about how the type of data determines the graph that will be used.  Essentially, these questions help students examine data to determine what type of representation would work best, consider limitations of the data display, and interpret a graph.  After I ask a question, I provide students with wait time before cold calling on a student.  During this wait time, the students are able to refer back to their notes and review pictures of the three different types of graphs on the whiteboard.  While it is not required, I also recommend that students take notes during this process.


10 minutes

I ask the students to open take out their Chromebooks and open the graphing assignment for the day.  I direct their attention to the Kids' Zone Create a Graph website that we will be using on a regular basis.  I provide the students with an overview of the website and demonstrate its features by having the students help me create a graph on the SMARTBoard.  After that, I review the guidelines for the assignment and answer the students' initial questions.

A graphing tutorial for this website is also available.  I refer students to this tutorial, if they are having continued difficulties or are working on the website at home.  This is a video describing how I use the Create a Graph website.


20 minutes

The students begin working on the assignment.  This is their first experience with these websites and it is important that they learn how to use the graphing website as we will return to at various times throughout the year.  While the students work, I circulate through the room to help them and ensure they understand the functions of the websites.

The first activity on the assignment requires students to complete a learning styles inventory.  This allows the students to collect data about themselves and better understand who they are as learners. This provides them with an authentic graphing experience as they use Create a Graph to create a pie chart using their data.  This is a sample student graph from a journal, which is missing a title.

The second activity requires the students to analyze and interpret data as well as create their own data table and graph.  I'm using the NOAA's National Data Buoy Center weather data. Students "adopt" a buoy (I recommend the yellow diamond) by clicking on it. A box showing current weather data opens.

From here, students can navigate to the data history. The students will review the data history and select a weather condition graph that they would like to analyze.  The students will open the graph and begin by making basic observations about what is happening in the graph.  For instance, the temperature is rising and then drops suddenly.  After writing their observation, preferably using specific quantitative data, the students are asked to infer as to why changes occurred. Some students have difficulty developing possible explanations for changes in the weather data collected by the buoy, so I use guiding questions to help them think through why conditions such as temperature or wind direction may change.  While the students work on this activity, they are addressing NGSS SP4 and are laying the foundation for the understanding of the difference between causation and correlation as identified in crosscutting concept cause and effect.  Once the students have analyzed a graph for buoy data, they work on creating a graph.  The students select a different weather condition and create a data table using at least seven ordered pairs from which they then create a graph using the Create a Graph website.  This video provides an additional explanation of the Buoy Website.

Activity three is designed to ensure that students who finish early still have items to work on.  This section includes links to a variety of online interactives where students practice measuring using the metric system.  Students are also able to reference the activity later and many of the students elect to work on activity three as a way to study for the end of the unit lab practical and test.

Wrap up

5 minutes

At the end of class, I lead a discussion about learning styles.  I begin with a basic review of the three learning styles and the types of class activities that best suit each learning style.  I then ask the students to share their learning style preferences with the class. Similar to the Graphing Flipped activity, this helps the students learn more about themselves and each other.  It also provides me with further insight into the students at learners.