Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Graph It

Laurie Ayers
Bay District Schools


Students use real life experiences (school Open House) to learn graphing skills and use technology for creating tables and graphs.


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

The student designs experiments to answer class or personal questions, collects information, and interprets the results using statistics (range, mean, median, and mode) and pictographs, charts, bar graphs, circle graphs, and line graphs.


-6'x 3' piece of colorful bulletin board paper
-Sticky notes in two colors (pink and blue)
-Pencils or pens
-Computer with spreadsheet program such as Excel productivity tool or Tom Snyder's Graph Club
-Large screen TV
-Printer and paper
-Note for parents telling date and time of Open House
-Rubric to assess students' final projects (see Associated File)


1.Obtain 6x3 piece of bulletin board paper.
2.Prepare a note to go home to parents about the date and time of Open House.
3.Practice using productivity tools such as Excel or Graph Club.
4.Set up a designated area for the sticky notes.


1. A few days before Open House, begin talking to students about how families, teachers, and students need to work together to provide the best possible learning situation. Explain to them that it's like a triangle. When all three work together, learning is enhanced.

2. Announce to the students the date and time of PTO Open House. Encourage them to invite their families to attend. Send home a note with details several days before Open House.

3. The day of Open House, tell the students that in order to keep a record of who attends, you'd like to plan a graphing activity. Brainstorm with them as to who might attend.

4. Display the large piece of bulletin board paper horizontally in front of the classroom. On the left side of the paper, list the categories of people who might attend. Possible categories are students, mothers, fathers, stepfathers, stepmothers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, etc.

5. Explain to students that at Open House you will have sticky notes at a designated place by the door. Boys and their guests will use one color (blue) and girls and their guests will use a different color (pink.) As they and their family members come in they are to write their individual names on appropriate color of sticky notes and then place them in the correct categories on the bulletin board paper. You or a designated helper need to remain close at hand to answer questions.

6. Tell them that the next day the class will use the information to generate tables and graphs on the computer. Share the scoring rubric with the students. (See Associated File.)

7. The day after Open House, tally and discuss the data with the class. Ask questions as to which categories were greatest and least. If a category had no sticky notes, make sure the students understand that the numeral zero would represent that amount. Use this as your chart of data to make the graphs. For class example purposes, you will be working with all the total number of guests in each category.

8. Explain to the students that there are other ways to represent this data. One way might be to make a graph using the computer. Tell them there is a program on the computer such as Excel which allows them to do just that. Ask if they'd like to create graphs using their Open House data.

9. Turn on the computer and large screen TV. Open Excel. Teach the components of a graph and model the steps to create a spreadsheet chart and graph. After creating the graph, ask specific questions to interpret the data and give students time to orally answer and discuss them. (For example: Did more Moms or Dads come to Open House? Did anyone's sister come to our Open House? Which category had the most guests?)

10. Print the graph and display it somewhere on the bulletin board paper.

11. Next, divide the students into small groups.

12. Ask them to make a chart with the same categories as our Open House chart.

13. Instruct each group to tally the number of people who represented ONLY their group at Open House. In other words, girls will use only the data generated by the pink sticky notes and the boys will use the data generated by the blue sticky notes. Do not count or summarize this data for the students.

14. Groups then take turns at computers entering their data and printing graphs. Students then write 3 questions about the interpretation of the data on their graphs. Suggest that they leave room for someone to write an answer.


Note: This lesson only assesses the part of the math benchmarks dealing with the collection of data, creating a graph using software and analyzing and interpreting the results.

After data is counted, each student produces a graph on the computer using a productivity tool such as Excel. Learners then compose 3 questions about the data on their graphs. Pair students and have them exchange graphs and questions. Students answer each other's questions using the graphs. Upon completion, assess the students' graphs and questions using the rubric found in the associated file. It is necessary to determine the correct answers to the questions since the data will be different for each class that completes this lesson. Students who are having difficulty will need guidance and feedback. This is to be a formative assessment.

Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.


During the following weeks allow students opportunities to interview each other to collect other data such as:
What is your favorite food?
What is your favorite color?
What color are your eyes?
What is your favorite sport? etc.
1. Use a different software program such as Tom Snyder's The Graph Club to create more graphs.
2. Instead of creating questions about their graphs to exchange, the learners could write a summary of the data using a word processing program, such as Student Writing Center and also include it in the class book.

Attached Files

The rubric to be used in assessing the students' graphs.     File Extension: pdf

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