Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Graphing With Candy

Beverly Iacobellis
Bay District Schools


The purpose of this lesson is to gather information 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
-Chart paper with a tally chart, table, and graph for data collection
-Graphing software such as The Graph Club
-Two data collection worksheets per student (see Associated File)
-Colored candy such as Skittles or M & Ms (individual packs or packed in plastic sandwich bags)


1. Connect computer to the Student OnLine Lessons at the Beacon Learning Center.

2. Prepare on a chart tablet a tally chart, table, and graph for the introductory lesson.

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

4. Gather colored pencils or crayons for Station 2.

5. Load graphing software (or have disks available) for Station 2.

6. Prepare question worksheets for Station 3. Questions can be generated from the criteria listed in the assessment section below.


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

2. The teacher talks about graphs and how information is gathered for a graph.

3. The teacher uses a basic question to gather information. For example, -What is your favorite candy?-

4. The teacher chooses a student to gather information using tally marks on a tally chart that is located in front of the room on a chart tablet. Each tally mark will represent one vote. (Remember to show the children that the fifth mark is drawn as a diagonal line across the first four). Have the students copy the tally chart on their data collection worksheet.

5. Ask for a student volunteer to record the data on a table. Have the students fill in the table on their data collection worksheet. Remind them to include the category titles used on the table.

6. Model how to take the data from the table and transfer it to a graph. Explain that the horizontal and vertical labels on a graph show where to record information.

7. Have a student volunteer place a title label, a horizontal label for -Types of Candy,- and a vertical label for the -Number of Candies- on the graph.

8. Ask for a student volunteer to transfer the information from the table and put it on the graph. Have the students fill in the graph on their data collection worksheets.

9. Help the students analyze the data gathered and determine what is their favorite kind of candy. Review the steps the students have taken to gather and interpret the data.

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

*This lesson will be reinforced by the use of three work stations. Each student should stay at each station for about fifteen 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 complete a tally chart, table, and a graph using bags of colored candy. The children then take their results and make a computer-generated graph using software such as The Graph Club.

Station 3:
Students answer teacher-prepared questions about their completed graphs.

The children that start in Station 1 proceed to Station 2 to start their information gathering. The children who start in Station 2 proceed to Station 1or 3. Station 3 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.

12. After completing the workstations, or at the start of the next math class, allow students to present their graphs and survey results during the whole group setting. Use the teacher-prepared questions to help guide students through the presentation of their graphs to the class.


1. Teacher observes the students' presentations of their survey results and assesses whether or not the students can orally interpret and correctly explain their data display to the rest of the class.

2. A numeric grade will be assigned to the data collection worksheet generated in Station 2. The teacher should check for the following criteria on the worksheet:
a) the student collected responses to their question and correctly recorded these responses on the table and chart worksheet,
b) the student correctly labeled the bar graph using a title label, a vertical label, and a horizontal label, and
c) the student correctly displayed the results of his or her survey on the bar graph.


MATH: Every morning have the students complete a graph using the question of the day. Here are some daily questions you may use:
1. How many children ate cereal, pancakes, waffles, or French toast for breakfast today?
2. How many people wore shorts, skirts, pants, or dresses today?
3. Is blue, red, green, or yellow your favorite color?
4. Do you like vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice cream best?
5. Is your favorite pet a cat, dog, fish, or bird?
6. How many brothers and sisters do you have?

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

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: The AIMS series has an activity entitled, -Candy Count- that supplements the information presented in this lesson.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.