Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Graph Scavenger Hunt

Michaél Dunnivant


This learning activity is one of six in a station rotation where students go on a scavenger hunt to analyze how graphs are organized and used to solve problems. Students generate, collect, organize, display, and analyze their own data using a graph.


The student writes notes, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of content and experiences from a variety of media.

The student solves problems by generating, collecting, organizing, displaying, and analyzing data using histograms, bar graphs, circle graphs, line graphs, pictographs, and charts.


-Crayons or colored pencils
-Software with clip art file
-Printer with paper
-Data Diary (one per student)
-Paper for graph (download in the Associated File)
-Computer with clip art software
-Online student lessons (see Weblinks)
(A detailed list of materials and procedures for station work can be downloaded from the Associated File.)


The teacher needs to:
1. Make one Data Diary per student by stapling five sheets of unlined copy paper (11x17 inch) book-style with a construction paper cover. This can be used throughout the unit as a notebook to show student progress. You could also use notebook paper.
2. Be familiar with software clip art and how to find graph pictures in the file. Make sure you have a sufficient number of choices before beginning the lesson.
3. Download the Graph Criteria from the Associated File so you can post it and refer to it at the appropriate time during the lesson.
4. Download the Associated File and consider providing the suggested opportunities from the Graph Scavenger Hunt before this lesson. Detailed information is provided. If you decide not to implement the suggested station rotation, provide students with opportunities to find graphs in media. Several suggestions are listed as Weblinks.


BACKGROUND: This learning activity is designed to be the last in a six-station rotation where approximately four students work together in groups producing and analyzing individual graphs. At each station, students look for graphs in appropriate media, such as newspapers, magazines, World Wide Web, and literature.

This lesson uses graphs scavenged from software as a reference point for reflecting upon station work with graphs. In addition, the lesson establishes criteria for assessing future student-made graphs. While this lesson can stand alone, students should have ample experiences with graphs to be successful with this lesson content. (Detailed procedures for each station can be downloaded from the Associated File attached to this lesson.)

1. In small groups, tell students this is the last part of the scavenger hunt for graphs. This part of the hunt is in software clip-art files. Guide students to locate graphs in software, such as a clip art file. (These can usually be found under business or technology or education.)

2. Allow each student to locate and print a picture of a graph found in the clip-art file. This is more manageable if you have a lab where students can print in one class setting. However, if a lab is unavailable, you may let students do this individually before moving to step three of this lesson.

3. As students print their graphs, work with small groups or individuals to reflect on the work completed at stations with the Graph Scavenger Hunt or previous graph construction. Or ask students to reflect on their previous experiences with graphs and the common characteristics of graphs. Ask questions, such as -What have you learned about graphs?- Have students record their responses in their Data Diaries or journals.

4. Continue the discussion by asking students to share their learning in the small group. The discussion could include questions, such as,
-What makes a graph a graph?
-What are common components of graphs and the purpose for them?
-What do graphs do?
-Why use a graph?
As students respond to these and other questions, begin to build a list of -Graph Criteria.- (see Associated File)

5. Have students reflect upon graphs previously made to determine if each of their graphs meet the established -Graph Criteria.- (It is best to use graphs that the students created rather than reproduced graphs.)

6. Allow students to make adjustments to their work based upon their reflections. Discuss the changes they plan to make.

7. Ask students whether or not the graph they downloaded from the software is indeed a graph based upon the criteria for a graph.

8. Ask students to discuss what should be included to make the clip-art graph a real graph with questions like -What's missing in this graph?-

9. Have students attach their clip-art graph in their Data Diary and make it into a real graph based upon the graph criteria or note what needs to be included in the appropriate places to make the graph more authentic.

10. Review what makes a graph a graph as established by the -Graph Criteria.- Ask students to look back at their work and record reflections in their Data Diary about what they have learned so far about graphs.


Students should now have enough experiences with graphs so that their work reflects the Graph Criteria. The purpose of this assessment is to establish that criteria and allow students the opportunity to improve their work based upon that criteria. You may decide to establish scores at this point.

Students make the clip-art graph into a graph or improve a graph made previously in class to meets the graph criteria:

Graph criteria (download from Associated File):
-appropriate graph title
-labels for the units on the axes
-appropriate numbers for the scale
-accurately graphed data

Students reflect in their Data Diary to the following question,
-What makes a graph a graph?-
The response should include comments and observations to reflect their understanding of the graph criteria, and how and why graphs are used.

Web Links

Web supplement for Graph Scavenger Hunt
Kinds of Graphs

Web supplement for Graph Scavenger Hunt
How It All Stacks

Web supplement for Graph Scavenger Hunt
Piece of Pie

Web supplement for Graph Scavenger Hunt
Kids Have Pets

Web supplement for Graph Scavenger Hunt
Play Ball

Web supplement for Graph Scavenger Hunt

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