Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Names Count!

Tamara Atkinson


This lesson introduces range, mode, and median in a fun way. Using the number of letters in their names and in fairy tale characters' names, students work in small groups to complete a graph and use data to determine range, mode, and median.


The student uses mathematical language to read and interpret data on a simple concrete graph, pictorial graph, or chart.

The student uses concrete materials, pictures, or graphs to display data and identify range, mode, and median.


- Chalkboard or dry erase board
- Chalk or dry erase markers
- Overhead projector
- Transparency
- Graph pocket chart
- Graph title card
- Graph number cards
- Colored squares for graph
- A class set of "Fairy Tale Characters" worksheet (see Associated File)
- A class set of "Assessment Checklist for Fairy Tale Names Bar Graph" (see Associated File)


1. Make transparency of students' names
2. Check overhead projector
3. Get out graph pocket chart, or chalkboard or blank transparency to make
class graph with
4. Make title card “Class Name Graph” and number cards (if using graph pocket chart)or get chalk or overhead pens (if using chalkboard or overhead)
5. Cut out colored squares for graph (if using graph pocket chart)
6. Copy "Fairy Tale Characters" worksheet (see attached file)
7. Copy "Assessment Checklist for Fairy Tale Names Bar Graph" (see Associated File)


1. Ask students: Do you know who has the shortest name or the longest name in our class? (Call on students and accept reasonable answers.) Tell students: Today we will make a class bar graph to show how many letters are in our names.

2. At overhead projector, show transparency of students' names. The students count how many letters are in each child’s name. Write the numeral next to the student’s name.

3. Next tell students we have to transfer the information on how many letters are in their names and organize it as a class graph.

4. Demonstrate the correct labeling of a bar graph to students using a graphing pocket chart, the chalkboard, or an overhead projector. Fill in title and number labels, discussing as you go.

5. Graph the information on the Class Name Graph by counting how many students have 2 letters, 3 letters, 4 letters, etc. until all students’ names are graphed.

6. Ask students questions about the graph, such as: How many students have 6 letters in their names? or How many more students have 5 letters in their names than 4?, etc.

7. Allow students the opportunity to ask their own questions about the graph, having them call on other students to answer them.

8. Write the word “range” on the board. Tell students that the word “range” in math means the difference between the highest number and the lowest number of given numbers. Tell students the range is found by subtracting the lowest number from the highest number. Ask students to refer to the graph to find the highest number. Write the number on the board. Then have the students find the lowest number. Write that number on the board under the highest number. Ask students to subtract to find the range. Select a student to answer the question. Comment on the answer (11-3=8) as 8 being the range.

9. Write the word “median” on the board. Tell students that the word “median” in math means the middle number in a list of numbers arranged from least to greatest. Call on students to write the numerals on the board in order from least to greatest. Ask the students to find the median. Mention to the students that there may be two medians if there is an even amount of numbers in the line. Call on a student to come up to the board and point out the median.

10. Write the word “mode” on the board. Tell students that the word “mode” in math means the number that occurs the most times. Look at the graph and write on the board all the numbers and how often they occur. For example, if there are nine students with 4 letters in their name then there would be nine 4s on the board.

11. Review with students how to find range, median and mode. Ask for questions and allow for discussion.

12. At this point divide the students into groups of three. Tell the students they will work together to complete a "Fairy Tale Characters" worksheet (see Associated File ) on graphing the number of letters in fairy tale characters’ names and find the range, median and mode.

13. Pass out "Fairy Tale Characters" worksheet to each student. Tell students that they can work together, but each student must fill in their own worksheet.

14. Circulate giving feedback as students work in groups.


A formative assessment takes place as the teacher observes the students as they participate in a class graph and identify range, mode, and median of students' names. Specifically check for correct statements such as: _____ is the only student in our class who has 9 letters in his/her name; _____ has the most letters in his/her name; There are more students with 6 letters in their name, so that is the mode, etc.

A formative assessment is also used as students complete the "Fairy Tale Characters" worksheet (see Associated File) as evidence of learning range, mode, and median.

Criteria: A correctly completed bar graph worksheet along with the range, mode, and median given.


Students can write the words range, median, and mode and the definitions in their math journals.

Students can use the letters in their names to see how many words they can make on "The Name Game" worksheet (See Associated File)

Students can use a chart to see how much their names are worth on "How Much is Your Name Worth?" worksheet (See Associated File)

Attached Files

How Much is Your Name Worth?     File Extension: pdf

The Name Game     File Extension: pdf

Fairy Tale Characters     File Extension: pdf

Assessment Checklist     File Extension: pdf

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