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Topic: Creating and Reading graphs

Teacher: Mrs. Thornton
Grade: 3
Instructional Objectives:
Students will draw a scaled bar graph.
Students will interpret a scaled bar graph.
Students will explain their reasoning in constructing a bar graph.
Students will apply understanding of the components of a graph to a reverse situation.

Common Core Standards:
Measurement and Data 3.MD
Represent and interpret data.
3. Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several
categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems
using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For example, draw a bar graph in
which each square in the bar graph might represent 5 pets.
Materials: old calendar with pages torn loose, sheet of poster board (#1) with a small picture of the
calendar months pasted down the baseline side and rows for each month, birthday stickers with students’
names, 12 colors of plastic cubes, four-inch squares of poster board the same colors as the cubes, large
sheet of neutral-colored poster board (#2), Smartboard/laptop projector and laptop, ten envelopes
containing an assortment of rubber-band shapes, craft foam shapes, stickers or buttons ( about 25-45
items in each envelope), blank grid paper, rulers, markers, crayons, colored pencils, pre-drawn unlabeled
graphs, worksheets.
Prerequisites: Work with object graph, picture graph, tally sheet/data table
Setting the Stage: (Elements from Activity 19.1)
Ask- “Is there anyone in class who does not have a birthday?” After a response, say- “All of us have a
birthday, but we all were born in different months.
Place the torn-out calendar pages in order in a line on the classroom floor. Have the children line up
behind their month of birth.
Ask- “Who remembers what kind of graph we have just created?” (an object graph)
Next take out the poster board (#1). Have children put a birthday sticker with their names beside their
birth month.
Ask- “Who remembers what kind of graph we have just created?” (a picture graph)
Fill in a data table of months/birthdays of the class.

Our Birthdays
Number of birthdays


Instructional input and modeling: (Activity 19.3)
Tell the children that other kinds of graphs can be used to show the same information. This time, colored
cubes will be used to represent their birth months. Children with the same birth month will have cubes of
the same color. Have children with the same colors join their cubes and stand them on a table alongside
the other colors. Compare the standing cubes with the table and the picture graph. Discuss the meaning
of the cubes in each stack. Help children recognize that the table, the picture graph, and the colored cube
“graph” all represent the birthdays
Give each child a 4-inch square of poster board with a color that matches the colored cube used earlier.
Have them paste the squares onto the large sheet of poster board, which should have a baseline about 1
foot from the bottom. Name each column in the space beneath the baseline. Discuss how this graph is
like the picture graph and how it is different.
Compare the colored-squares graph with the colored-cube graph. Tell the children that the new graph is a
bar graph.
Introduce a computer graphing program. Demonstrate the program to the class via the Smartboard/laptop
projector. Use the program to make a table and a bar graph of the birthday data.
Ask the children if they can think of any advantages of the bar graph over the picture graph. (i.e.The
number of birthdays is now determined by the scale of the graph and not by counting individual items,
cubes or squares. Greater numbers of items can be displayed.)

Using the computer-generated graph and table, brainstorm the important parts of a bar graph.




1st item

2nd item

3rd item

4th item

X-axis (What stays the same)

Information that should be discussed:
a. Title identifying what graph is about,
b. vertical and horizontal axes
c. label for horizontal axis (Month) Write the name of each month where the bars will be.
d. label for vertical axis (Number of Birthdays)
e. scale (Consider the least and greatest number shown on the graph. What range of numbers should be
on the graph? Here it is limited by the number of students in the class. But what if the graph was about
the number of birthdays in the entire third grade or the whole school?)
f. draw bars to show total for each item.
Go over how to determine a scale. Tell students that they need to look at the highest number on the data
table. Do they have enough room on the grid to count by ones from 0? If not, they need to determine if
they need to count by 2’s, 3’s, or 5’s so that they have room to put the highest number from the data
table on their grid.
Ask- How do you decide what information goes where? What does the bar graph show/tell you? Why
would we use a bar graph?
Check for Understanding and Guided practice:
Divide students into groups of 4. Assign student pairs for Pairs/Check. Give each group an envelope

containing an assortment of rubber-band figures, craft foam shapes, stickers or buttons. Tell them to sort
the materials by size, color, shape or another characteristic they observe. Have them create their own bar
graph using their data. Remind them that the bar graph must have all the important parts. Check in with
each group to be sure that they understand how to create and label the bar graph. Encourage them to
check the computer-generated bar graph if they need help.
Each group should complete their graph and, on the back of the graph, explain what they did and why.
Independent practice:
Task 1- Mario’s dad visited the Jelly Belly factory in California. He brought back some jelly beans that
Mario shared with some friends. Mario made a data table showing which Jelly Belly jelly bean flavors
were his friends’ favorite. Create a bar graph of Mario’s data. Write three facts about the data.
Favorite Flavor
Very Cherry
Sunkist Orange
Bubble Gum
Green Apple

Number of Friends

Task 2- Hanna’s YMCA after school group was discussing their favorite singers. Hanna made a graph
showing which singers the group liked best. Here is her graph:

YMCA Group’s Favorite Singers





Answer the questions using the graph.

3rd item



How many kids chose Justin Bieber as their favorite singer?
How many more kids chose Hannah Montana than Miley Cyrus?
How many kids chose either Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus?
If two more kids chose Hannah Montana, how many kids would have chosen her?
If five less kids had chosen Justin Bieber, how many kids would have chosen him?
List the singers in order, from most favorite to least favorite.

Task 3- Decide on a question you would like to collect data about. Collect your data using a tally
sheet/data table. Create a bar graph of your data. Make up three questions which can be answered using
your graph.
Extension/Assessment: (Activity 19.4)
Display an unlabeled pre-drawn bar graph to the class. Speculate with the children about what the graph
could represent. Tell the children that this graph could be used to represent many different data sets.
Give each child a copy of the pre-drawn graph, and ask them to complete the graph by labeling the
horizontal and vertical axes, coloring the bars, creating a data table and giving the graph a title.
LD- Prepare a pre-drawn graph template for student with fine motor skill difficulties to use in group
work and Task #1 and #3.
ELL- Use students’ native language to name months. Be specific and clear with instructions. Do not use
pronouns or vague terms.
Gifted/Talented- Have students research data on a topic of their choice and prepare a data table and a bar
graph. Arrange a class time for them to present/explain their graphs to the class.
Cooperative Learning groups help with all of these students.

(Extension/Assessment worksheet)
Complete the graph below.
1. Label the horizontal and vertical axes.
2. Color the bars.
3. Create a data table.
4. Give the graph a title.

Draw your data table below.

Explain what your bar graph shows.