Lesson plan

Creating Graphs: Classroom Scavengers

Help your class understand the concept of graphs and charts by holding a scavenger hunt inside your classroom. During this lesson, students gather and create real-world data and graph it.
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Students will be able to organize and represent real-world data using graph paper.

(5 minutes)
  • Begin the lesson by writing the following question on the board: "How many letters are in your name?"
  • Allow students to turn to their partner and discuss the answer to this question.
(15 minutes)
  • Display or project the Classroom Names worksheet and tell students that today they will be creating two different graphs.
  • Remind them that a graph sorts and organizes information in a way that is easy for us to read.
  • Begin the activity by modeling the proper way to label a graph. Write the word “Names” on the y-axis, or vertical axis, and “Number of Letters” on the x-axis, or horizontal axis, then number the squares 1-14 on the x and y axes.
  • Write your name across the x-axis using one square per letter.
  • Have students study the amount of letters in your name and discuss their findings as a whole group.
  • Then, call names at random or ask for volunteers to write their names on the graph as well.
  • Look for learning opportunities throughout the lesson and stop to ask questions or make observations.
  • When you have finished calling five different students to the board, bring out three index cards and label them "fewer," "greater," and "total."
  • Focus on defining these three vocabulary words and then have students turn to their partners and decide the correct answers for the following three questions: Which name has less letters? Which names have the greatest number of letters? How many people participated in total?
(15 minutes)
  • Inform students that today they will be graphing the following items: desks, windows, doors, book shelves, and tables.
  • Display or project a copy of the handout titled Classroom Scavenger Hunt.
  • Remind them that to correctly fill out a graph they must first label the y-axis and x-axis correctly.
  • Model writing the words “Number of Items” on the y-axis and then explain that the items will be color coded on the x-axis for identification purposes. For example: desks=pink, windows=blue, doors=brown, book shelves=orange, and tables=yellow.
  • Model graphing the total number of windows in the classroom by using a blue crayon to fill in the squares.
(20 minutes)
  • Provide a worksheet for each of the students and allow them to work in partners throughout the scavenger hunt.
  • Encourage students to walk around the room as they search for data. Remind them to color code and record their findings.
  • When finished, have students answer the following three questions on the back of their paper: Which item had the fewest number? Which item had the greatest number? What was the total number of items counted?
  • Monitor for progress.
  • Enrichment: Challenge advanced students by asking them to add a fourth question on the back of their worksheet that includes the answer to the following question: How many more bookshelves are there than windows?
  • Support: Help struggling students understand the concept of graphing by calling them to a small group table and having them sort a bulk of items into paper cups.
(10 minutes)
  • Collect the students’ records and conference with them to provide feedback.
(5 minutes)
  • Challenge the students' understanding by asking them to mentally graph one last item in your classroom.

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