Lesson Plan:

Line Plots: Representing the Length of Classroom Items

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October 29, 2015
by Yolanda Swain

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to measure the lengths of objects and use a line plot to represent the measurement data.


Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Review measuring items by asking students to explain how to measure using a ruler.
  • Pass out rulers, and have students measure the length of their pencils.
  • Record their results as numbers on the board.
  • Tell students that today they're going to learn about using line plots to display the data they collect from measuring different items.
  • Read aloud Kenley's Line Plot Graph: Another Math Adventure by Kathleen Stone.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Explain to students that a line plot uses a number line to show data, and that data is information collected about people or things.
  • Explain what the different parts of the line plot are, such as the title and axis label.
  • Draw a line plot on chart paper.
  • Write the title Length of Pencils at the top of the line plot and Inches at the bottom to label the axis.
  • Ask students to look at the results from the pencil measurements and find the measurements for the shortest pencil and the longest pencil.
  • Label the number line with the shortest pencil as the first mark and the longest pencil as the last mark.
  • Draw an X for the length of each student's pencil in a single column above the number on the number line.
  • Discuss the line plot with students. Potential questions include: What is the most common length of a pencil in our class? How many pencils are there in all?

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Draw a number line from 1 to 6, and label the axis and numbers.
  • Have each student measure another person's thumb using an inch ruler.
  • Record students' results on the board.
  • Ask students to help come up with a title for the line plot.
  • Write the title, such as Thumb Lengths, on top of the line plot.
  • Have students come to the board and draw an X for the length of their thumbs in a single column above the number on the number line.
  • Discuss the line plot by asking questions. For example: What is the most common length of thumbs? How many thumbs are 3 inches long?

Independent Working Time (15 minutes)

  • Instruct your students to complete the Line Plot worksheet.



  • Enrichment: Direct your students to come up with their own line plots and questions for other peers to answer. Give them time to exchange worksheets and answer each other's questions.
  • Support: Instruct your students to make their own questions and survey the classroom. Have the other students mark their X themselves on the student's graph, helping the student to see that each X belongs to a person.


Assessment (5 minutes)

  • Walk around the room, and observe students as they complete the Line Plot worksheet.

Review and Closing (10 minutes)

  • Ask students to describe how they made a line plot today.
  • Take an easy poll, such as how many siblings your students have, and invite a volunteer to make a line plot on the board to represent the data.

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