A Picture of Data

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Students will be able to graph data and analyze that data.

Big Idea

The Science and Engineering Practices state that students need to learn to analyze and interpret data and use mathematical and computational skills. This lesson combines both practices.


5 minutes

Today, I will direct my students to the idea that graphs make looking at data easier. I will again put up the data from our weighing lessons and ask the students to make comparison statements from that data. 

As they work to do that, I will ask them if they think there is another way to look at the information, instead of a long list of numbers. Hopefully, someone will suggest a graph. If not, then my teaching will take off from there. 


Mini Lesson

10 minutes

After I have engaged the children, I will begin a lesson on what a good graph is.  It should have a title, the x and y axis should be labeled, the objects written, and the intervals should be equal. 

In order to do this effectively, I will show the graph examples in the resource section, one at a time, for the students to assess for effectiveness. The first graph has no information to help a reader understand it's purpose. The second has some labeling, but it leaves the viewer wondering, while the third graph is detailed and makes it easy to gain information. 

With this third graph, I ask students to make statements, or tell me something they have learned by studying the graph.

Some of the statements might be: 7 more people like dogs, rather than birds. Birds are the leastfavorite pet, and cats are the second most favorite pet. 

After assessing the three graphs, I will explain to the students that they will create a graph of their results in order to better analyze the data, and to communicate it with the other students in the class. 

After they create their graph, they are to write at least 5 statements. 



Active Engagement

20 minutes

The students had difficulty figuring out their scale interval, but once they had that, they were good to go. Once  they completed the graphing, I began listening in to and reading their statements. What I was hoping for, and prompting when necessary, were comparison statements, rather than just the obvious numbers of grams. 

This student was able to catch a mistake and revise, once I pushed him to think more deeply about what type of data the graph could teach us. 

 This scientist was just beginning her statement writing when I approached, so I was able to guide her right away into writing comparisons. She had a great strategy for computing the difference. 

This student was working on completing the task of writing 5 true statements. However, I caught her in time to help her push her thinking into looking for comparisons. Listen in.

I really enjoyed the fact that this student was trying to be creative right off the bat. My job here was to point him into writing something more, as he thought a long statement was enough!

Closing and Sharing

5 minutes

Closing this lesson was short. I simply reminded the students about the important aspects of graphs, why they help us, and asked them to read their favorite 2 statements to a table partner.