Lesson plan

Organize Your Data

Collect and graph! In this lesson, your students will practice collecting, organizing, and interpreting data by using real life examples.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the What Does the Graph Show? pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the What Does the Graph Show? pre-lesson.

Students will be able to collect, record, and interpret data. Students will learn to construct bar and picture graphs for data they collect.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(3 minutes)
  • Explain to your students that they are going to learn about representing data, or information.
  • Ask your students to give an example of a time when they had to collect and use data.
  • Take data from your students by asking them to say what they brought for lunch or are planning to have for lunch. Write this on the board in categories. For example, the categories could be salad, sandwich, pizza, and other.
(15 minutes)
  • Display the lunch count data on the board.
  • Ask a volunteer to set up a picture graph, or a visual representation of data with pictures, and a bar graph, or a visual representation of data with rectangles that represent numbers, on the board.
  • Explain that numbers are usually on the vertical side (y- axis), and what is being measuring is usually on the horizontal side (x-axis). For example, in the lunch data graph, food would be on the x-axis, and number of people that brought that food would be on the y-axis.
  • Invite someone to illustrate the lunch data on a bar graph. Have her use a different colored marker for each item, such as green for salad and yellow for pizza.
  • Ask your students questions about the graph. Potential guiding questions include:
    • What do you think is a favorite food among our class?
    • Least favorite?
    • How many more people want salad compared to pizza?
    • How many fewer people want sandwiches compared to pizza?
  • Then, invite another volunteer to represent the data on a picture graph. Explain that for this picture graph, each picture will represent two food items.
  • Remind your students how to count by twos, and explain that two pictures with two pizzas represent four pizzas.
  • Explain to your students that a half picture represents one item.
(20 minutes)
  • Explain to your students that they are going to collect data for their favorite types of candy.
  • Go around the class and ask each student to name their favorite type of candy.
  • Record the responses on the board.
  • Direct your students to partner up and draw a bar graph for this data. Have them label the x and y axes.
  • Next, go around the class and have each student say their favorite animal.
  • Record this data on the board.
  • Instruct your students to partner up and draw a picture graph for this data, reminding them that one whole picture represents two animals.
  • Ask your students questions about the graph. For example:
    • What is the least favorite candy among our class?
    • How many fewer friends like birds compared to dogs?
  • Instruct your students to complete the Eggplant Pictograph worksheet, explaining that one picture represents three items.
(15 minutes)
  • Give your students two of the following worksheets to complete: Tomato Pictograph worksheet, Gone Fishing worksheet, Reading a Bar Graph worksheet, Eat Healthy Bar Graph worksheet.


  • Divide your students into groups of 3, and pass out the Data Collection Book and Chart worksheets. Instruct your students to collect data from the other students in the class to make their bar graphs. Have them use the chart to collect data, and then direct them to transfer that information into the graph in the book.


  • Have your students compare only two categories in bar graphs and picture graphs. Instruct your students to only practice one type of graph for the class period.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute the picture graph on the second page of the Organize Your Data Assessment. Have students complete the assessment.
(2 minutes)
  • Ask students to turn and talk to a partner about the question, "How would you organize data that was collected about students' favorite hobbies?"
  • Remind students that collecting data and organizing it helps us have a clear understanding of a situation. Using picture graphs and bar graphs gives us visuals, and we can answer many different questions just by looking at the organized data.

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