EL Support Lesson

Graph My Design

Geometry meets data in this fun lesson! Students will build a design using pattern blocks and then graph the number of each shape used. This scaffolded EL lesson can be used alone or alongside **Graphing Colored Counters.**
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Graphing Colored Counters lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Graphing Colored Counters lesson plan.

Students will be able to represent and interpret data using a bar graph.


Students will be able to describe the steps to show and interpret data on a bar graph, using visual and partner support.

(5 minutes)
  • Project the Bar Graphs: Favorite Color worksheet, and tell students that today they will be collecting data, which is information that can be used to learn about something.
  • Write the question, "What is your favorite color?" on the board.
  • Review the choices on the worksheet, and have students turn a talk to a partner to answer the question using the sentence frame, "My favorite color is ____." If their favorite color is not included on the graph, instruct them to choose their favorite of the available choices.
(5 minutes)
  • Instruct students to raise their hand if their favorite color is red. Model coloring squares on the bar graph to represent the number of students who chose that color. Continue with the other colors.
  • Tell students that you have just created a bar graph, which is a diagram that uses bars of different lengths to show information.
  • Ask students questions about the data, such as "What color was the most popular?" and "Did any two colors get the same number of votes?"
  • Tell students that today the class will use pattern blocks to build a design. Then, they will create a bar graph to show how many of each shape they used in their design.
  • Show students the shapes they will use in their designs: square, triangle and trapezoid. Review the defining attributes of each shape, and instruct students to repeat after you, "square, triangle, trapezoid" as you show the shapes on the document camera.
  • Display Vocabulary Cards and allow students time to record words in the Glossary (optional).
(5 minutes)
  • Project the Graph My Design worksheet, and review the three categories of shapes: square, triangle and trapezoid. Ask students to show you on their fingers how many categories are included in the graph, and repeat after you, "There are three categories."
  • Model the activity by first closing your eyes and grabbing a random assortment of shapes. Take one minute to build a design with the pattern blocks. Project the design on the document camera.
  • Tell students that you will now graph your design. Point to the first category and think aloud, "square." Chorally count the number of squares in the design.
  • Tell students to turn and talk to a partner about how many squares you included using the sentence frame, "There are ____ squares."
  • Choose a student volunteer to come up and reflect the number of squares by coloring in spaces on the bar graph.
  • Continue with triangles and trapezoids. Students can count the shapes in partners, and use the sentence frames, "There are ____ triangles" and "There are ____ trapezoids."
  • After you finish graphing your design, reflect on the data. Ask students questions such as "How many blocks total did I use in my design?", "How many squares and triangles did I use?", "Which shape did I use the most/least of?", and "How many more triangles did I use than trapezoids?" Allow students to share with a partner before choose students to answer the questions.
  • Create an anchor chart to display the steps involved in the activity:
    1. Grab a handful of shapes.
    2. Build a design.
    3. Graph the design.
  • Tell students to turn and talk to a partner to describe the steps they will follow to do today's activity.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute a Graph My Design worksheet inside a sheet protector, a dry erase marker, and an eraser to each student.
  • Distribute approximately 30 pattern blocks including trapezoids, triangles, and squares to each student. (If pattern blocks are mixed together, instruct students to only build with the three shapes on the worksheet for this activity.)
  • Set a timer for three minutes, and allow students time to build a design using the shapes.
  • When the timer goes off, instruct students to count how many of each shape they used, and graph the information on the worksheet.
  • Allow students time to look at a partner's design and graph. Display the sentence frames, "How many ____ did you use?" and "I used ____." Prompt students to ask and answer questions about their designs.
  • Repeat the activity a few more times as time allows.


  • Work with students in a teacher-led small group to review shape names, build the design, graph the design, and answer questions.
  • Groups students at various levels of English-language proficiency together. Group English Learners with supportive peers with more developed English-language skills.


  • Allow students to compare their design with a partner. Provide sentence frames such as "I used ____ blocks total, but my partner used ____ blocks total." and "I used ____ more blocks than my partner."
  • Do a gallery walk where students walk around the room and look at one another's designs. Prompt students to describe the designs using content-specific vocabulary.
(5 minutes)
  • As students work, circulate and ask questions about the data. Note whether students are able to correctly count and represent the number of shapes on the bar graph.
  • Prompt students to answer questions that require analysis of data such as "How many more triangles did you use than trapezoids?"
  • Note any common misunderstandings to address whole-class. Students may struggle with questions that involve subtracting to find the difference. Provide examples such as "This design used seven squares and four triangles. I see three more squares than triangles." Point to the part of the graph that shows this, and write the number sentence 7 - 4 = 3.
(5 minutes)
  • Choose a student volunteer to share their graph on the document projector.
  • Use the graph as an example to discuss common misunderstandings that presented during independent work time.
  • Discuss questions such as "How many more triangles did you use than trapezoids?" Point out that in this case, we are solving for the difference which requires subtraction, not addition. Circle the part of the graph that shows where to find this information.

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