This is the third day of a three day series of lessons focused on graphing.
During Day 1, students explored graphing using Excel.
Standards: RST.9-10.3, RST.9-10.7
On Day 2, students analyzed their Excel graphs, assessed their quality against our graphing guidelines and began to translate those skills into hand-drawn graphs.
Standards: SL.9-10.7, RST.9-10.7, SP1, SP8
Today, we will compare our graphs, list out the most important aspects of well-constructed graphs, and discuss the information we can obtain and predict we can make from graphed data.
Standards: SL.9-10.1, SL.9-10.1d, HS-ETS-1, XC-P-HS-4, SP1, SP4, SP7
The purpose of this three day lesson is to work with graphing on a deeper level for freshman and sophomore level students. Although many students have had practice with graphing in the lower grades, their expertise is limited and seems to focus mainly on bar graphs rather than line or other types of visual representations of data. Extracting and analyzing data from visual resources such as graphs is an important skill for science students and one I want to begin building into our classroom structure as soon as possible in our new semester. The slower pace of the lesson series and guided discussions has resulted in more consistently well-constructed graphs by all students so far this year.
See my short video for more on how interesting data led to an enhanced graphing activity learning experience for kids as they analyzed what our visual representations meant and how they might change over time as more data is added in. I have found that since this lesson, all of our experiences with graphed data have resulted in deeper discussions and analysis.
2. Using the spokesperson protocol ask students to compare their two graphs: What do you notice about them? What is different about them?
3. Student groups should be able to see that the Excel graph x and y axis are not consistent in their spacing which leads a different view of the world population data. See student sample work for what this common error looks like and how it can skew the data field, something that will be really obvious to students as they compare their two graphs with each other and with the others in their lab group. This will allow you to really talk about how important it is to look critically at visual data and confirm the accuracy of how graphs are set up by their creator. Check out my Day 2 video for more on this step.
1. Ask students to look again at their graphing guidelines.
2. Give them a few minutes to compare their Excel and hand-drawn graphs to their graphing guidelines and make any changes they feel are necessary.
3. Tell students you'd like to go through the major areas that you have noticed over the years that consistently need improvement on student graphs:
4. Ask students to take a look at their titles. Briefly discuss the idea of 'descriptive' titles and how the title of a graph should give an instant and detailed account of the visual data.
5. Briefly address the format for identifying the variables and units for each axis and best practices for choosing intervals/spacing on each access.
6. Discuss any clarifying questions that come up from the graph guidelines conversation.
1. Use the spokesperson protocol to start a discussion about the data they have graphed. Post this prompt:
What do you think will happen to world population numbers in the future?
2. Post this graph or any other current graph with projections for world population growth. Ask students to brainstorm and share out what they think is most likely to happen and why.