Lesson plan

Line Plots: Representing the Length of Classroom Items

In this lesson, your students will measure the lengths of items and then make a line plot to show the measurement data. They will get hands-on by measuring and surveying the class.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Understanding Line Plots pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Understanding Line Plots pre-lesson.

Students will be able to use a line plot to represent data.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(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.
(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?"
(10 minutes)
  • Draw a number line from 1–6, 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 "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 three inches long?"
(15 minutes)
  • Instruct your students to complete the Line Plot Practice 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.

(5 minutes)
  • Walk around the room, and observe students as they complete the Line Plot Practice worksheet.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to describe how they made a line plot today.
  • Take an easy poll, such as how many pets your students have, and invite a volunteer to make a line plot on the board to represent the data.

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