Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What's Your Favorite Stuffed Animal?

Beverly Iacobellis
Bay District Schools


The purpose of this lesson is to gather information in a survey and interpret the results using a tally chart, a table, and a bar graph.


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


-Internet access to student online lessons available at the Beacon Learning Center
-Two data collection worksheets per student (see Associated File)
-Colored pencils or crayons
-Floor graph (may be created with masking tape or an enlarged paper graph)
-Chart with a marker
-Assorted stuffed animals such as Beanies Babies, Puffkins, or others
-Graphing software such as The Graph Club


1. Make sure the computer is on and connected to the Beacon Learning Center's Student OnLine Lessons, -How It Stacks Up-, -Kids Have Pets-, -Kinds of Graphs-, or -Vacation-.

2. Make sure you have a floor graph, stuffed animals, and a chart ready on a chart tablet for the introductory lesson.

3. Download and copy the data collection worksheet from the Associated File for the introductory lesson and Station 2.

4. Load graphing software on the computer.


1. The teacher introduces the lesson by gathering the children in a whole group setting.

2. The teacher shows the children a stuffed animal (i.e., Beanie Baby, Puffkin, or any other available stuffed animal.)

3. The teacher shares a little about his/her favorite stuffed animal. Don't talk too long about stuffed animals. They're contagious!

4. Be sure to have a number of animals on display. Tell the children they are going to group the animals based on a few common characteristics. Have the children find a few common characteristics (i.e. air animals, land animals, and water animals).

5. Inform the students that they are going to find the answer to the following question: Are there more air, land, or water animals?

6. Have a volunteer make a title label (By Air, by Land, by Sea), a horizontal label (Types of Animals--air, land, sea), and a vertical label (Number of Stuffed Animals). Have the volunteer place the labels on the floor graph.

7. Students take turns placing stuffed animals on the floor graph according to the type of animal it is (air, land, sea).

8. The teacher chooses a student to gather the information on the graph by using tally marks on a tally chart. (The tally chart is on a chart tablet in front of the children. Remember to show the children when you reach the number five you must draw a mark across the first four.) Have the students fill in their own copy of the tally chart on their data collection worksheet.

9. Next have a student record the information on the table located on the chart tablet. Have the students fill in their own copy of the table on their data collection worksheet.

10. Using the chart tablet, show your students how to take this data and transfer it to a bar graph. Have the students fill in their own copy of the graph on their data collection worksheet. (Remind students to include the title and labels for their graph.)

11. Guide the children to analyze the data information gathered in order to determine whether they have more air, land, or water animals. Review the steps the children have taken to gather and interpret their data.

12. Help the students generate some questions about their graph. Write these questions on the chart tablet. Ask for volunteers to orally answer each question and write their answers on the chart.

This lesson will be reinforced by the use of four work stations. Students stay at each station for about 15 minutes.

Station 1:
Students complete one of the following online lessons available from the Beacon Learning Center: -How It Stacks Up-, -Kids Have Pets-, -Kinds of Graphs-, or -Vacation.-

Station 2:
Students are given an opportunity to survey their classmates using a new data collection worksheet. They use the tally chart to gather the information, and then place the data on the table and graph. (Remind students to fill in all titles and labels on the chart, table, and graph.) Crayons or colored pencils are used to fill in their graph. A sample research question for students to use during the survey could be:
-Which is your favorite Beanie Baby bear: Peace, Erin, Glory, or Princess?-

Station 3:
The children go back to the computer and generate their own graphs using graphing software such as THE GRAPH CLUB. They will share the computer generated graph and the handmade graph during the final group discussion.

Station 4:
Students generate questions to go with their completed bar graph. These questions will be used in the final group discussion.

Note: The children that start in Station 1 will proceed to Station 2 to start their information gathering. The children who start in Station 2 will proceed to either Station 1, 3, or 4. Station 3 and 4 will be empty until the children have gathered their data in Station 2. If necessary, place more students initially in Station 2 than in Station 1.

13. Reconvene as a large group (either after work stations or during the next math class) to discuss students' graph and survey results. Use the questions generated during Station 4 to help guide students through the presentation of their graphs to the class.


1. The teacher observes students' presentations of survey results during the final group discussion to assess that students can orally interpret and correctly explain data displays to their classmates.

2. The data collection worksheet generated in Station 2 is collected and graded based on the following criteria: a) students generate questions and collect responses on the chart and table, b) graphs contain titles and horizontal and vertical labels, and c) students correctly display the results of the survey on their bar graph.


MATH:Every morning have the students complete a graph using the question of the day. Here is a list of some daily questions you may use:

How many children ate cereal, pancakes, or toast for breakfast today?
How many people wore shorts, pants, or dresses today?
Is blue, red, green, or yellow your favorite color?
Do you like vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice cream best?
Is your favorite pet a cat, a dog, a bird, or a fish?

Students can fill in the graph as they come into the room each morning as part of their morning activity. The teacher will discuss the results of the graph during the morning activities or during math time.
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