Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Critter Counting

Anne Hargrove


In Critter Counting, students generate, collect, organize, display, and analyze data using a graphical presentation.


The student knows which types of graphs are appropriate for different kinds of data (for example, bar graphs, line, or circle graphs).

The student chooses reasonable titles, labels, scales and intervals for organizing data on graphs.

The student selects appropriate graphical representations (for example, graphs, charts, diagrams) to collect, record, and report data.


-Computer(s) with Internet Access
-Web World Wonders at Wakulla Springs (see Websites)


1. Review graphs.
2. Review terms: title, label, scale, and intervals.
3. Show examples of graphs.
4. Make sure website is available.
5. Assign students computer and time slots.


Students will be collecting, recording, and reporting data related to the environment.

Florida’s fourth grade students should have been taught that variations in the environment affect organisms. (The student knows that variations in light, water, temperature, and soil content are largely responsible for the existence of different kinds of organisms and population densities in an ecosystem.)

This lesson can be done individually or in groups.

Day 1: Students access Web World Wonders--Wakulla Springs (see Weblinks) and count the number of animals they see once during the morning and once in the afternoon. The amount of computer time will be determined by the teacher. Students will record the number of animals observed each time.

Day 2: The teacher will review with the class types of graphs and list on the board the things he/she will be using as the assessment (title, label, scale, intervals and oral presentation.) Students will use the information from day 1 and design an appropriate graphical representation. The type of graph will be students' choice.

Day 3: Students will share graphical representations with class discussing the collecting, recording, and reporting data related to the environment.


The students will construct an appropriate graphical representation which will be assessed by using the checklist which was presented on Day 2, including why they chose the type of graph they created. The graphic representation should include a reasonable title, labels,scale, intervals and oral presentation. Students who are having difficulty need formative feedback and direction. A class discussion should follow about the types of graphs and which ones were appropriate, showed the most information, were easy to read, etc. Be sure to review why certain graphs are appropriate for certain types of data.


Have students write a summary paragraph detailing the activity. Instruct them to include the type of graphs they created and why they chose that kind.

Web Links

Web supplement for Critter Counting

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