Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Bay District Schools
Let's go surfing! Students surf the Web gathering information about graphs. The data collected and analyzed in The Math Poet activity is now incorporated into a spreadsheet and graphs of varying nature generated to further enhance student understanding.
Describes, analyzes and generalizes relationships, patterns, and functions using words, symbols, variables, tables and graphs.
Interprets data that has been collected, organized, and displayed in charts, tables, plots.
-Computers with Internet access
-Zip disks (optional)
-Completed data collection sheets
-CD player with CD of appropriate music
-Overhead projector (optional)
-Screen print of the Excel sample spreadsheet and computer-generated graphs through the Chart Wizard, one copy for teacher use (see Associated File)
-Handouts, assessments, and scoring tools (see Teacher Preparation, Steps #5-6)
1. Mark each individual group member’s spreadsheets and computer-generated graphs.
2. Include marked documents in individual folders. Place individual folders in respective groups’ expanding folders.
3. Set up tables, or group stations, as arranged in The Math Poet activity.
4. Set up CD player with appropriate CD.
5. Download and duplicate activity sheets found in the associated file:
a) Surfing the Web Student Response, one per student
b) Introduction to Excel handout, one per student
c) Excel and Chart Wizard directions sheet, one per student
6. Download and duplicate the following documents found in the associated file to be used in formative assessments:
a) Surfing the Web Student Response Answer Key, one copy for teacher use
b) Surfing the Web Teacher Checklist, one per student.
7. See Web links for Web site to use as a review or easy tutorial for Excel.
Days 6 and 7 of the mini-unit Challenging Math Poetically
1. Have a CD of students’ favorite music playing as they enter the room. Greet students at the door and direct them to their group seating.
2. Once students are seated in their groups, distribute expanding folders according to group numbers. Tell them to assign new roles and complete the Challenging Math Poetically Role Assignments sheets for today’s activity. Each member assumes a new role of the four designated in The Math Poet activity: 1) Team Manager, 2) Calculator, 3) Recorder, and 4) Signaler (flag waver). The Signaler waves the flag any time a group has questions of the teacher.
3. An alternative is to have folders already in place on the tables, or group stations.
4. Review concepts from the previous lesson Get the Picture with Graphs. Allow time for students to review “What’s in the Graph?” worksheets and make note of any teacher comments. Point out main points and discuss differences in graphs selected. Ask students to share their graphs and what they learned within their groups. Call on selected students to share information with the entire class.
5. Tell students to refer to sketches of graphs from previous day’s activities and discuss problem areas within their groups. Pay particular attention to the bar graph that best represents the data and discuss why this takes precedence over a line graph. Call on one student to share this information with the entire class.
6. Tell students to report to computers, or escort them to a computer lab. Allow students to seat themselves close to their team members. This provides opportunities for peer-teaching and mentoring while continuing learning within a cooperative learning environment.
7. Present objectives to students. Review the standards and Goal 3 Standard(s) that are addressed. Inform students that the purpose of their work on the computers is to create spreadsheets and generate graphs selecting the graph, which best represents data collected. Requirements also include describing, analyzing and generalizing graphs.
8. Provide students with Surfing the Web Student Response handouts (see Associated File). Instruct students to use a search engine of their choice to answer the questions accordingly. Engage students in discussions about the various types of graphs they see and why certain types are chosen for specific data.
9. Collect Surfing the Web Student Response handouts. Formatively assess students’ ability to use a search engine using the answer key and the Surfing the Web Teacher Checklist provided in the associated file.
10. Instruct students to refer to their Data Collection Worksheets. Inform students that it is now time to produce computer-generated graphs. Instructions:
a) Create an Excel spreadsheet complete with same data used in Get the Picture with Graphs. Include student’s name typed on the spreadsheet, not handwritten on a printed copy.
b) Generate four graphs per instructions on the Excel Spreadsheet and Chart Wizard handout.
c) Provide an analysis of the graphs including title, horizontal and vertical axes, and appropriate legend.
d) Include a statement indicating the graph of best fit for data collected and why you selected the graph of your choice.
e) For circle graphs, include a statement explaining what ratios were used to calculate the percentages displayed.
11. Teach or review how to input data into a spreadsheet.
a) Introduce students to Excel. Distribute Introduction to Excel handout, one per student (see Associated File).
b) Complete handout with students engaging them in discussion while referring to the handout. Students need the colored pencils or pens to complete the questions at the bottom of the page.
c) Distribute Steps for Excel Spreadsheet and Chart Wizard handout – one per student (See Associated File.) Tell students they will create a sample spreadsheet and graphs using the information they sketched in their graphs yesterday. This allows students to verify their own sketches. Tell them to use the data they collected to create the spreadsheet and generate four graphs – Column (one), Line (one), and Circle (two). (The two circle graphs include one for data on boys per group and one for data on girls per group.)
d) From this point on students are primarily working on their own. Monitor students while they are working at the computers to lend assistance whenever needed. Assign one or two students to serve as mentors. Ask if any students feel proficient in Excel and can handle this role.
e) Monitor students’ progress and formatively assess students’ work while at the computers offering feedback as deemed necessary.
f) Engage students at the computer with soft, relaxing music playing while they are working. Just a little perk that the students will enjoy!
12. Optional: Instruct students to save all of their work on a disk. Because of the graphics involved in generating graphs it is preferable that you have zip disks. Work saved includes:
a) Excel spreadsheet complete with all data and student’s name.
b) Four generated graphs per instructions on the Excel Spreadsheet and Chart Wizard handout.
c) An analysis of the graphs including title, horizontal and vertical axes, and appropriate legend.
d) Indication of graph of best fit for data collected and why you selected the graph of your choice.
13. Students print copies of their Excel spreadsheets with their names typed (not added in pen or pencil), and copies of the computer-generated graphs including analyses and generalizations. Include notation of the graph that is chosen as the best fit to represent the data and explanation why that graph was selected. (See sample for teacher use in Associated File.) Be sure students have their names on both copies and preferably stapled together.*
*Unless students save their work to zip disks in lieu of printing.
14. Students turn in Excel spreadsheets and graphs, or zip disks with information saved, for continued formative assessment. (See Assessment section.)
1. Seat students in their groups and distribute expanding folders according to group numbers.
2. Use this day to wrap-up and bring closure to the mini-unit actvities. Instruct students to peruse the documents in their individual folders, especially from the previous day. Go over any areas of concern that arise from the feedback on their spreadsheet documents.
3. Review the concepts studied and answer questions as they arise.
4. Provide opportunities for students to practice Excel, or similar spreadsheet program as warranted.
5. Go over expectations for the summative assessment to follow the next day.
Students demonstrate ability to search the Web effectively for information requested. See Associated File for checklist.
Students create and print, or save to a disk, spreadsheets depicting selected data collected from the Math Poet activity. Students generate four graphs (1-column, 1-line, and 2-circle) from the spreadsheet program, select the best graph that represents the data collected, and analyze the graphs.
Formatively assess students’ work throughout the working process examining:
a) Excel spreadsheets complete with necessary data and students' names.
b) Four generated graphs per instructions on the Excel Spreadsheets and Chart Wizard handouts.
c) Analysis of graphs generated.
d) Indication of graphs of best fit for data collected and why selected.
What is the most often purchased greeting card? Discover this, and have students produce their own greeting cards. Students surprise family and friends while analyzing data at the same time. Creativity soars! Go to the lesson plan, Poetic Math Greeting Cards, found at
Day 8 of the mini-unit Challenging Math Poetically is the Summative Assessment.
The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: http://www.beaconlearningcenter.com/search/details.asp?item=2985. Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).
Using Microsoft Excel for Drawing GraphsTutorial
Complete 8-day mini-unit with which this lesson is associatedChallenging Math Poetically
Have students produce their own greeting cards. Students surprise family and friends while analyzing data at the same time.Poetic Math Greeting Cards