This lesson is not only to work on graphs and problem solve, but also to learn about a current event: the 2014 Winter Olympics! I will begin by introducing my students to all of the Winter Olympic Events. Time for Kids is offering a great kid-friendly connection for the 2014 Winter Olympics, including summaries, great pictures, and printables.
Before we begin, I will discuss each event and make sure my students know exactly what the event involves.
Need: Build a class graph using the Winter Events Graph Column Headings and large butcher paper.
After my students decide what their top 3 events are, I will pass out 3 small cards for them to either write the name of the event or draw a picture of the event. I will hang the graph in the hallway and call them one at a time to the hall to hang their votes. I will have them help me put them in the right column. You can see a video of selecting events. Here is our completed graph.
I placed the graph outside of our classroom for a particular reason. When I have had students make decisions to help build a graph in the past I would often have some students who would wait and watch what other students were putting up on the graph before they would complete their own answer because they would all want a certain category to "win." I planned to hang it in the hallway anyways when we were finished, so I decided to do it a little early to try and curb the other problem from happening. Students were excited to see all the data points and the highest data point ended up being figure skating.
One of the things I thought of ahead of on this lesson actually helped me in more than one way. I placed the class graph in the hallway and out of the classroom for a reason. I knew we would have a range of choices (15 different events), and I wanted a good range of answers from my students. In the past, I have always built class graphs in the classroom and my students have only been able to pick one answer. They would turn it into a contest for who all could pick the same answer and they believed that if they could get one bar the highest and they picked that one, then they were winners. They would even change their answers while I call students up to make this happen. I did not want that to occur, so I placed the graph in the hallway and called them one at a time to the hall to give me their selections.
This activity was allowing them to pick their top 3 favorite events. By having it in the hallway it allowed them to make their own minds up and they really didn't know what their neighbors were selecting. Amazingly they didn't talk about what they were picking as they made their selections. Another way it helped to have it in the hallway was I had my entire class come to the hallway to transfer the class data onto their own graphs. When students finished ahead of others I was able to let them go back in the classroom and go to centers and allow my slower students to stay in the hallway and take their time; no rush and no noise. You can watch this video, Transfering Data Video, of my students completing their bar graphs to see it in action.
First, I will gather my students at our Smart Board and go over with them how to use graph. They need to know that a bar graph is built from the bottom-up and they need to notice the bars are numbered along the side from the 1 going up in quantity. I will have my students gather in the hallway to transfer the class graph data to their own graphs. Print the Bar graph and worksheet and copy for each student. You can see students transferring data here. As each student finishes I will send them to the classroom to begin center work and allow my other students extra time to finish. This graph will have a lot of data on it and I know I will have some students who need more time to finish.
After their graphs are complete we will return to the classroom and use their individual graphs for answering graph questions. I want them to practice the Common Core standard skills of identifying how many more or less are on the graph, how many are there altogether, and compare columns of data with one another. (1.MD.C.4) Students will be using the graph to analyze results, make conclusions, review those conclusions and then revise as necessary. (MP4). These are real-life mathematical skills that First Graders need to begin developing now. It is not enough to just guess at an answer, but they must study the graph and compare/contrast columns to identify results.
I will have my students turn to their neighbor and tell them what is an important thing to remember when coloring in data information on a bar graph.