Enjoy Making Bar Graphs

Using graphs to represent data is an important feature of teaching math to elementary school students. Graphs come in many different shapes and sizes and can convey numerous types of information. As students progress through Math, they will encounter graphs in increasing complexity and will be asked to interpret data from graphs, draw conclusions from graphs, and even extrapolate information. Introducing graphing can be done through fun, interactive games that bring Math to life.  (photo: www.commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:3D_Bar_Graph_Meeting.jpg (10/27/13 7:15pm)

In this activity students will explore the how to collect and graph discrete data.

Materials:   Chart Paper, Markers

Instructions:

1. In the classroom, section off 4 distinct areas. Using corners of the classroom is the easiest way to do this.
2. Ask the students: “What is your favorite dessert? If you like cake, go to Corner #1; if you like cookies, go to Corner #2; if you like ice cream, go to Corner #3; if you like candy, go to Corner #4.
3. Allow time for students to decide which dessert they prefer and then record the number of students in each corner.
4. On the chart paper, have 4 columns, one for each dessert option. Write the number of students in the corresponding column.
5. Explain to the class that they just collected data on the type of dessert their classmates like. You may consider saying, “Data can be in the form of numbers or words, and in this case, we determined how many of you like each type of dessert. Next, we are going to do a graph, which is similar to a picture, showing the data we just collected.”
6. Create the axis of the graph, labeling the number of students on the vertical axis (y-axis) and the type of dessert on the horizontal axis (x-axis).
7. Mark the y-axis according to provide enough numbers to represent the numbers of students in each category. Draw in the bars to the corresponding number for each dessert type. For younger students, consider using stickers to represent the bars of the graph and have each student place a sticker in the dessert column they prefer.