EL Support Lesson

Let's Interpret the Line Plot

Support your students as they build a foundation in data analysis! Use this as an independent lesson or alongside the lesson entitled *What is it Telling me? Creating and Interpreting Line Plots.*
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the What is it Telling Me? Creating and Interpreting Line Plots lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the What is it Telling Me? Creating and Interpreting Line Plots lesson plan.

Students will be able to create and interpret line plots.


Students will be able to interpret line plots and create questions about them using sentence starters and graphic organizers.

(2 minutes)
  • Read aloud the student-facing content and language objectives for this lesson.
  • Briefly define any unknown terms in the objectives and emphasize that today the students will play the role of the teacher as they create questions to go along with information in a line plot. Display a line plot to give students a visual of the term.
(8 minutes)
  • Use the Vocabulary Cards to go over the tiered words.
  • Explain that a line plot is a graph that shows the frequency of data along a number line. Share that a line plot is good to use when you are comparing a smaller amount of numbers. It is a quick and simple tool to organize data. Display just the line plot at the top of the Word Problems: Interpreting Line Plots worksheet.
  • Point out that the number line is labeled to tell you what data is being counted. The numbers along the number line in this line plot show how many children are in each family. Mention that sometimes the line plot has categories, like different colors, on the bottom. Each X represents one student's data. The X's show how many of each number was reported during the data collection.
  • Explain that the X's that are used in the line plot are symbols to represent a piece of data. In math, lots of different symbols are used to represent things, like a cross (+) for addition or a dash (-) for subtraction. Ask students to think of any other symbols they have seen in math.
  • Have students share one thing they notice about the line plot. Provide the sentence stem, "I notice that ____."
  • Display questions 1-5 on the bottom of the Word Problems: Interpreting Line Plots worksheet. Think aloud about the types of questions that can be asked about a line plot. For example, say "I see a question that asks me how many are in a certain category. I also see a question that asks me to compare the different categories."
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Creating Problem Questions for Line Plots worksheet to each student and display a copy on the document camera.
  • Guide students in looking at the line plot. Ask specific questions and provide sentence stems/frames for students to use as they turn and talk to a partner about the answers:
    • What is the title of the line plot? (The title is ____.)
    • What do the names along the bottom represent? (The names along the bottom represent ____.)
    • What does each X in this line plot represent? (Each X represents ____.)
    • What type of information can we get from this graph? (We can get ____ from the graph.)
  • Point out that this line plot has no questions and tell the class that together, they will come up with questions that can be asked about the line plot. Remind students of the types of questions seen on the line plot about the number of children in each family. Make suggestions of types of questions to get students thinking.
  • Put students into partnerships and have them work together to come up with a question that could be asked about the line plot. Have them write the question on a whiteboard. Then, go around to each partnership and have them share their question. Jot notes and provide feedback to the class about their questions. Record three different questions on the graphic organizer on the worksheet and have students record them on their papers.
  • Instruct partners to answer each question, and go over them as a class. Provide sentence stems/frames to support students as they share their answers to the questions.
(12 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will now work with a partner to co-create questions for a line plot. Give each learner a copy of the Questions About Line Plots worksheet.
  • Create partnerships and instruct them to complete just the Questions column in the graphic organizer. Have them discuss their answers, without writing them down on the worksheet.
  • Instruct partnerships to trade questions with another partnership.
  • Have them answer the questions on their peer's worksheet, making sure to show their work, if applicable.
  • Instruct students to check each other's work once they are done solving the problems.
  • Encourage students to ask their partner questions regarding their solution to the problem. Provide sentence stems for the following questions:
    • How did you solve the problem? (I solved the problem by ____.)
    • How do you know it is correct? (I know it is correct because ____.)
  • Share out as a class and provide feedback and suggestions for revision as necessary.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide a word bank of key terms and phrases for students to use in group and class discussions.
  • Group students intentionally based on academic and language needs.


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(6 minutes)
  • Create a line plot on the board to show students' favorite colors. Write five color options (blue, green, red, orange, yellow) and have students make a decision about their favorite and keep it to themselves.
  • Instruct students to write their favorite color on their whiteboard and hold it up for you to see. Quickly count up the number of each color that is represented and add X's on the line plot accordingly.
  • Give each student a sticky note and have them create one question that could be asked about the line plot that you just created. Then, have them put the sticky note on the board near the line plot.
(2 minutes)
  • Go over a few of the questions that were written on sticky notes about the line plot. Think aloud and engage students in sharing answers to the questions by looking at the line plot. Provide a sentence frame for students to use as they share answers. For example, "I know the answer is ____ because ____."
  • Remind students that a line plot is a good way to organize data in a visual way. It is quick, simple, and gives you a way to analyze data about a certain situation.

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