Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Yummy Bar Graph

Maike Christopher
Lee County School District


Students put their hearts on the line in this lesson to display data and identify mode.


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


-Overhead projector
-Marking pens
-Overhead transparencies
-Translucent plastic colored counters – 5 different colors
-Conversation hearts, 20–25 per student
-Small cup to hold candy, 1 per student
-Copy of Valentine Candy Horizontal Bar Graph, 1 per student (See Associated File)
-Copy of Valentine Candy Horizontal Bar Graph on overhead transparency


1. Gather materials.
2. Check bulb in projector.
3. Make copies of the Valentine Candy Horizontal Bar Graph (See Associated File) for students.
4. Reproduce the worksheet as an overhead transparency as well.
5. Place approximately 20-25 conversation hearts into a cup for each student.


NOTE: In this introductory lesson, students use concrete materials and graphs to display data and identify mode. Range and median are not addressed.

1. Introduce graphing by telling students that they will be learning how to make bar graphs today and that after correctly finishing their product they will be allowed to eat the candy!

2. At the overhead, model proper graphing with translucent-colored counters. Use five different colors.

3. Begin to sort the colored counters into piles by color, then place one counter into each square on the Valentine Candy Horizontal Bar Graph (See Associated File) for the appropriate color.

4. Once all counters are correctly placed, draw a line after the last one, and fill in the entire bar up to that line, removing the counters for each color a row at a time.

5. Demonstrate the proper labeling of a bar graph by filling in title and labels in the appropriate blanks.

6. Remind students that the colored bars on the graph represent the number of counters for each color. Ask students questions about the graph, such as: “How many blue counters and how many red counters do we have in all?” or “How many more yellow counters than green counters are there?” Compliment students for correct answers and explain, as necessary, how to arrive at the correct answer while doing this with the whole group.

7. Ask students to create some questions about the graph, allowing other students to answer them.

8. Next, teach students how to find the mode of all the counters. Explain that the “mode” of the data is the color or item that occurs “most” often on the graph. Examine the bars of each of the five colors. Which bar is the longest? Explain that the longest bar represents the mode. Circle that bar on the graph. Note: Often two (or more) bars will be the same length, which means that there can be more than one mode for a data display. Either introduce this possibility now, or wait for a teachable moment that arises during the lesson to address this point.

9. Have students pick up candy-filled cups, 1 cup per student, and their own Valentine Candy Horizontal Bar Graph (See Associated File), and form teams of 2 students to work together. Remind students that they may not eat the candy until their work has been checked and they are given special permission to do so. Also, remind students that they are not to touch anyone else's candy.

10. Circulate around the room giving feedback as students work in pairs.

11. The students are asked to repeat the previously modeled steps, sorting and graphing their conversation hearts. Remind students to remove the candy from their graph and color in each block as done during the whole-group lesson.

12. Students need to correctly label the graph, and use the data to find the mode of their candy. (Be sure to take advantage of any teachable moments that occur--especially if students discover that there is more than one mode!)

13. As a final step, each student creates two questions that can be answered using their graph. They trade papers and have their partner respond to the questions using the information on the graph. Then, they trade back so their partner may check responses. When all steps are completed, students show their work to the teacher and receive permission to eat their candy!


EVIDENCE: In this formative assessment, students complete the Valentine Candy Horizontal Bar Graph (See Associated File) as evidence of their having learned the concepts taught in this lesson.

CRITERIA: An accurately completed Valentine Candy Horizontal Bar Graph, with labels, title, mode, as well as two questions about their graph.

Students failing to complete the project as directed should be given further instruction and the opportunity to design a graph for homework to be handed in the following day.


By working in pairs, this lesson is suitable for all learners. The activity can be repeated using a variety of objects and/or attributes.
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