Lesson Plan

Interpreting Complex Graphs

Graphs bring data to life and help us draw conclusions about the information presented. In this lesson students will engage with three different kinds of graphs by asking and answering interpretive questions.
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Learning Objectives

Students will be able to answer interpretive questions about line plots with fractional units, scaled bar graphs, and double bar graphs.


(10 minutes)
  • The class will start the lesson by generating a traditional bar graph and then a double bar graph organized by gender. Create the structure for a bar graph (the axis without the bars) on a poster or dry erase board with the title, 'Our Class’ Favorite Sports to Watch or Play.' As a class, decide on the categories (soccer, gymnastics, basketball, etc.). Write the categories under the horizontal line, spaced evenly with room for two bars above each category.
  • Tell students that they will be voting on their favorite sport and creating a class graph. Ask students to write down or tell a neighbor what they predict the graph will look like once they have all added their choice.
  • Distribute two different colors of small sticky notes to students asking boys to select one color and girls to select the other. Have students come to the board and place their sticky note above their choice, creating one neat bar above each category.
  • Remind students that a bar graph is type of graph that shows the data divided in categories along a horizontal line. It is good for comparing values in different categories. Instruct each student to place their sticker above the beverage choice that best represents the their favorite.
  • Discuss, "What do you notice right away? What are some of your initial observations? How is the graph the same or different from what you predicted? Is there anything that surprised you? What conclusions can you make about our class’ favorite sports based on the data?"

Related Guided Lesson

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3 games
8 online exercises
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fifth grade
Subject Math