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20 Graphing Activities For Kids That Really Raise the Bar

Bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts, and more!

Jill Staake

Math students often ask “But when will I use this in real life?” Gathering data and creating maps both have a lot of real-world applications, so these are key skills for kids to understand. Help them master bar graphs, line graphs, scatter plots, pie charts, and more with these fun and creative graphing activities!

1. Make an anchor chart or two.

Graphing Activities

Anchor charts can help math students remember the parts of a graph and how to use the different types for showcasing data.

Learn more: Top Notch Teaching

2. Introduce graphing with a pocket chart.

bar graph classroom activities

Pocket charts are so handy! Use them for graphing activities by taking class surveys and slipping student answers into each column or row.

Learn more: Miss Giraffe’s Class

3. Snack and graph with treats.

Graphing Activities

Give each student a handful of Froot Loops and have them create a graph of the colors. They can snack on them when they’re done!

Learn more: Planning Playtime

4. Use toys to make a pictograph.

bar graph classroom activities

Raid the toy box and use toy cars, trains, or whatever you have on hand to create simple real-life pictographs. Sort by color, length, type, number of wheels … the possibilities are endless.

Learn more: Mom Life Made Easy

5. Graph the water bottle challenge.

Graphing Activities

If your students still get a kick out of trying to master the water bottle challenge , turn that fascination into a lesson on graphing. Fun + learning = awesome.

Learn more: Create Dream Explore

6. Measure and graph your thumbs.

bar graph classroom activities

Graphing activities like this one combine two math activities in one. Kids work on their measuring skills, then graph their results.

Learn more: Amy Lemons

7. Take a nature walk.

Graphing Activities

Head outside and take a stroll, gathering sticks, rocks, flowers, and leaves. When you return, create a graph to represent your finds.

Learn more: Mrs. J’s Learning Made Fun

8. Bowl and graph.

bar graph classroom activities

Who doesn’t love math activities that get kids up out of their seats, burning off some excess energy? They’ll enjoy getting to bowl in class—pick up an inexpensive bowling set at the dollar store, or learn to make your own at the link.

Learn more: Smitten With First

9. Flip a coin.

bar graph classroom activities

Flipping a coin is an easy way to generate data for a bar graph. The only trouble might be getting kids to stop!

10. Construct a pop-up bar graph.

Graphing Activities

How cool is this graphing activity? A pop-up bar graph brings the data right off the page. Hit the link to learn how it’s done.

Learn more: Runde’s Room

11. Graph the number of letters in your name.

bar graph classroom activities

Here’s a clever way to show bar graphs that run horizontally instead of vertically. Find this and more activities to use with the book Chrysanthemum at the link.

Learning more: One Sharp Bunch

12. Aim at a target.

bar graph classroom activities

Snag a Velcro dart board at the dollar store or make a target from paper and pom-poms. Kids will have a blast aiming for the target to gather data before they graph their findings.

13. Read books and make a tally chart.

Graphing Activities

Take a survey of your class to find their favorite of the books you’ve read lately. Then make a tally chart graph to see which one is the most popular.

Learn more: Frogs, Fairies, and Lesson Plans

14. Watch the weather.

bar graph classroom activities

Some graphing activities make it easy to see the real-world connection, and this is one of them. Students monitor daily temperatures and use them to create graphs and make predictions.

Learn more: The Applicious Teacher

15. Play a game of tic-tac-graph.

bar graph classroom activities

Creating good graphs is important, but so is knowing how to read them and interpret the data. This free printable asks kids to answer questions based on the information shown in a simple bar graph.

Learn more: First Grade a la Carte

16. Count Skittles to make a circle graph.

Graphing Activities

This activity has so many math skills rolled into one! Kids create a circle graph using candy, then figure out the correct fractions and percentages represented by the data.

Learn more: Teaching With a Mountain View

17. Make a pie chart from eye colors.

bar graph classroom activities

Eye color is another fun way to make a circle graph, also called a pie chart. Combine it with a lesson on eye anatomy for a double whammy!

Learn more: Mrs. Lee’s Kindergarten

18. Print graphs on sticky notes.

bar graph classroom activities

Did you know you can print on sticky notes with a simple template? It’s life-changing! Use this hack to make notes to use for all kinds of graphing activities.  Get the how-to here.

19. Build a scatter plot graph with M&Ms.

bar graph classroom activities

Older elementary students start to explore scatter plot graphs, which examine how pieces of data correspond to each other. Give them a basic introduction to how they work with this M&Ms activity.

Learn more: Math = Love

20. Create a coordinate plane city map.

bar graph classroom activities

Coordinate planes are the most complicated form of graph, but learning to plot points on them is easier than it seems. We love this incredibly fun activity that turns a coordinate plane into a town map … and kids will love it too.

Learn more: For Such a Time As This

We’ve got so many great resources for teaching K-5 math! Check them all out here.

Plus, get 65+ STEAM Apps for Kids and Teens .

20 Graphing Activities For Kids That Really Raise the Bar

Jill Staake is a Contributing Editor with WeAreTeachers. She has a degree in Secondary English Education and has taught in middle and high school classrooms. She's also done training and curriculum design for a financial institution and been a science museum educator. She currently lives in Tampa, Florida where she often works on her back porch while taking frequent breaks for bird-watching and gardening.

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bar graph classroom activities

Teaching Expertise

25 Creative Graphing Activities Kids Will Enjoy

graphing activities for kids

March 14, 2022 //  by  Eileen Zajac

The importance of graphing is sometimes underestimated in schools. Starting from a young age, graphing should be at the top of your list. It is a way to give children a different perspective of looking at numbers and teach them the skills to quickly organize, compare and discuss different ideas and information. Thankfully, there are many creative graphing activities available to teachers and parents! We've provided a list of 25 different kinds of graphing activities that your students will love!

1. Graphing Board Game


Teach your little ones how to make a simple bar graph like this through fun and colors! They will love the different pictures and of course the tactile addition of rolling the die!

Learn more: Proud to be Primary

2. Floor Mat Graphing


An interactive graph like this is so important when shaping little minds. Go outside and collect some things from nature or use action figures to make this cute people graph.

Learn more: Pre Kinders

3. Graphing Building Blocks


A cute way to incorporate play into math. Students will love this graphing activity that centers around matching! It will be super simple for you to explain and for students to understand.

Learn more: Planning Playtime

4. Apple Graphing


This adorable lesson on graphing will help students to differentiate between colors and be able to better group objects according to their colors.

Learn more: Fun-A-Day

5. Bug Graphing


This super cute bug graphing activity can easily be turned into an online bar graph activity. Just send students the template and have them complete it outside at home!

Learn more: Life Over C's

6. Under the Sea Graphing


A graph such as this under the sea pictograph goes great with an  under the sea-themed classroom . We love using it throughout our Kindergarten classroom.

Learn more: Scribd

7. Sock Graphing Floor Mat


A super fun basic bar graph that includes students' personal items is great for distance learning, homeschool, or just weekend activities! Your kiddos will love matching and organizing their socks.

Learn more: Days With Grey

8. Button Color Graphing


A pop-up bar graph perfect for any young learner classroom! Simply talk about your student's favorite color and mark their names. They'll love to see their names on display!

Learn more: No Time for Flashcards

9. Height Graphing

Screenshot 2022-03-14 174642

Another amazing bar graph that will foster student answers without any confusion. Students will love to look at their heights compared to others in the classroom.

Learn more: Look What I Can Do! Learning Center

10. How Many Letters Graphing

Screenshot 2022-03-14 174943

Popular resource types for counting letters in your student's names are far and few between. Why not incorporate these lessons directly into your math lessons!

Learn more: Diana Nunez

11. M&M Graphing


Who doesn't love a graph with treats that are delicious? Allow students to graph their M&M's before eating them!!

Learn more: Ducks 'n a Row

12. Dino Graphing


Math students in the elementary grades will love this exciting dinosaur stomp. The spinner acts as a simple line graph generator for students and they will have so much fun generating their own answers.

Learn more: Side of Fries Teaching

13. Fishy Graphing


Lower elementary students will love this form of a graph. At this point, they should understand the idea of a bar graph, but will be excited to use one of their favorite snacks to make one!

Learn more: Instagram

14. Sport Graphing


As we begin to master graphs students will want something more exciting to mark. Do your kiddos love basketball? They are sure to love this sports tally chart graph.

Learn more: The Routty Math Teacher

15. Graphing Visual


Knowing the difference between graphs is super important throughout your entire graphing unit. Making an anchor chart like the one below with your students will be continuously beneficial for them.

Learn more: Stallings in Second

16. Shape Spinning Graphing


Giving kiddos a reason to use a fidget spinner is always proven for an engaging lesson. A lesson like this is perfect for a lesson intro on graphing. Getting kiddos back into the idea.

Learn more: Hands-on Learning With Life Over C's

17. Pictograph Breakdown


Sticky notes are great for breaking down different systems. Graphing is no exception. A powerful graphing program like this will start your student's knowledge with a strong foundation.

Learn more: PISD Mathematics

18. Jar of Hearts Graphing


By Valentine's day, students should have been at the point of master bar graphs. Have students complete a fun jar of heart activity like this one.

Learn more: Amy Lemons

19. Roll the Dice Graph


An easy activity that can be used in the classroom or at home and used as an online bar graph activity. Students will be able to easily understand and use resources from home to complete this activity.

Learn more: Wairakei Primary School

20. Fun Fruit Graphing

Screenshot 2022-03-14 181210

A super simple bar graph generator for our littlest minds. This is an easy way for students to generate their own bar graphs. It can be used in groups, stations, or as a whole class activity.

21. Middle School Visuals


A good way to show students different visuals is to print graphs on posters and hang them in the classroom. This will help students to constantly see and be reminded of the different types of graphs and charts.

Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers

22. Graphing Coordinate Planes

Screenshot 2022-03-14 181527

Coordinate planes are such a fun part of graphing. Middle school graphing takes on a whole new meaning and something engaging like making this bear is such a fun way to teach students and let them practice their plotting skills.

Learn more: Math Crush

23. Treasure Hunt Graphing


My students LOVED this treasure hunt activity. This is a great way to foster student collaboration and participation. They will also love the little pictures that make it feel like a real treasure hunt.

Learn more: Taylor J's Math Materials

24. Snow Day Graphing


Does your school use blizzard bags? I always love to send graphing activities home with students on or before snow days. They love these activities and it's so easy to find winter-themed graphing activities like these below.

Learn more: Make Sense of Math

25. 3D Bar Graphs

bar graph blog

Keep 3D bar graphs in your teacher tools! A fun and engaging activity filled with color and ambition your students will not only love to create but will love to see on display.

Learn more: Runde's Room

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Teacher Ideas & Activities: Bar Graphs

When your students need to display data, turn to the bar graph ideas and activities at The Mailbox® ! From mittens to butterflies to graphing with a seasonal or holiday theme, you’ll find center ideas, worksheets, and even open graphs to drive this important math skill home. Students collect data, interpret data, and display data for Christmas, Hanukkah, Earth Day, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. Looking for a polling activity for reading data? Bar none, you’ll find it at .

Graphing Fall Leaves


The Price You Pay


Gum Lovers Graph


Sizing Up Bats


Kwanzaa Candles


Lucky Charm Graphing


Insect Opinion Poll


Looking for Leprechauns


Valentine's Day


Falling for Leaves


Sammy's Shells


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Bar Graphs & Pictographs Worksheets & Activities

Bar Graphs & Pictographs Worksheets & Activities

The Teaching Rabbit

Also included in:  Graphing & Probability Activities Data Management Bundle

Double Bar Graphs Math Worksheets Grade 5

Double Bar Graphs Math Worksheets Grade 5

Brain Ninjas

Also included in:  Math Worksheets Bundle | Numbers to 1 000 000

Bar Graph Worksheets

Bar Graph Worksheets

Erin's Classroom Creations

Also included in:  Bar Graph Mini- Bundle

Bar Graph Worksheets and Anchor Charts Digital & Printable Math Activities

Bar Graph Worksheets and Anchor Charts Digital & Printable Math Activities

Differentiation Corner

Also included in:  Graphing Activity Bundle: Bar Graphs, Pictographs, Line Plots Digital Printable

Tally Frequency Table Bar Graph Google Slides Worksheets digital

Tally Frequency Table Bar Graph Google Slides Worksheets digital

Lovely Penguins

Bar Graphs and Picture Graphs Graphing Worksheets for 2nd Grade

The Mountain Teacher

Also included in:  2nd Grade Math Worksheets and Lessons - YEAR BUNDLE Print and Digital

Bar Graphs and Line Graphs Worksheets (Virginia-related)

Bar Graphs and Line Graphs Worksheets (Virginia-related)

Alyssa Teaches

Also included in:  Bar Graphs and Line Graphs Activities Bundle

Reading Graphs Worksheets

Reading Graphs Worksheets

The Meaningful Teacher

Picture Graphs and Bar Graphs Worksheets Second Grade Math 2.MD.10

Cupcakes n Curriculum

Also included in:  Second Grade Math Worksheets for Word Problems, Addition, Subtraction, Money

Bar Graphs Worksheets Collecting and Interpreting Data and Graphing Activity

Bar Graphs Worksheets Collecting and Interpreting Data and Graphing Activity


Also included in:  *Math Curriculum Grade 4-6 Print & Digital Growing Bundle

Data and Graphing Math Worksheets Bar graphs, Picture Graphs & Tally Charts

Data and Graphing Math Worksheets Bar graphs, Picture Graphs & Tally Charts

Shanon Juneau We are Better Together

Also included in:  1st Grade Math Worksheets Year Long Assessments Bundle

Bar Graphs and Picture Graph Worksheets Printables

Bar Graphs and Picture Graph Worksheets Printables

Stars On The Spectrum

Also included in:  Math Worksheets Bundle (Addition, Subtraction and Graphing) End of Year Review

Autism Bar Graphs Pictographs Worksheets Data Handling Special Education

Autism Bar Graphs Pictographs Worksheets Data Handling Special Education

Curriculum For Autism

Also included in:  Autism Elementary Special Education Math Worksheets BUNDLE Inclusion Resource

Bar Graphs and Pictographs | 3rd Grade Room Transformation

Bar Graphs and Pictographs | 3rd Grade Room Transformation

The Lifetime Learner

Also included in:  3rd Grade Room Transformations | Bundle #4 Math

Graphs and Data Math Project l Bar Graphs, Line Plots Worksheets l 2nd Grade

Graphs and Data Math Project l Bar Graphs, Line Plots Worksheets l 2nd Grade

Ideas for Little Learners - Nicole Abercrombie

Graphing/Data Management Third Grade Worksheets (bar, circle, pictographs)

Patti Mihalides

3RD GRADE GRAPHS: BAR, PICTURE, & LINE PLOTS - 15 Skills-Boosting Worksheets

The Classroom on Mango Street

Also included in:  3RD GRADE MATH WORKSHEETS/TEST PREP | Skills-Boosting, Scaffolded Savings Bundle

Data and Graphing Worksheets - Bar Graphs, Picture Graphs & Tally Charts

Data and Graphing Worksheets - Bar Graphs, Picture Graphs & Tally Charts

Briana Beverly

Also included in:  Data and Graphing Activities Bundle

Picture Graphs and Bar Graphs Worksheets

Picture Graphs and Bar Graphs Worksheets

Shelly Rees

Also included in:  3rd Grade Math Homework, Spiral Review, Quizzes, Morning Work, Test Prep Quizzes

Data Sorting and Bar Graphs Worksheets & Activities

Data Sorting and Bar Graphs Worksheets & Activities

Jewel's School Gems

Also included in:  Data and Graphing Activities Picture Graphs Pictographs Bar Graphs Worksheets

Picture Graph, Bar Graph and Tally Chart Worksheets Bundle

Picture Graph, Bar Graph and Tally Chart Worksheets Bundle


3rd Grade Bar Graphs Pictographs Line Plots Graphing Activities Worksheets

Thrifty in Third Grade by Cassie Smith

Also included in:  3rd Grade Math Centers Games Worksheets- 3rd Grade Guided Math -Year Long Bundle

Bar Graphs Bundle ~ Worksheets and Centers

Bar Graphs Bundle ~ Worksheets and Centers

Erin Thomson's Primary Printables

Bar Graphs and Pictographs NO PREP! Graphing

Thomas Teachable Moments

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bar graph classroom activities

Preinstructional Planning

Students will:

During Instruction

Lesson Directions

Step 1:  Distribute copies of the Bars, Lines, and Pies! Worksheet: Raising the Recycling Bar printable. Read the “Raise the Bar” sidebar as a class. Explain to students that they will be learning about  bar graphs  in this activity. Tell students a  bar graph  is used to display and compare information. Explain that the height of each bar is proportional to the amount of data the bar represents. The higher the bar the larger the number or amount of data.

Step 2:  Draw an X-axis (horizontal) and a Y-axis (vertical) on the board. Label each axis. On the X-axis write the different months of the year and on the Y-axis a sequence of numbers from 0 to 35 at intervals of 5. Use a show of hands to record the number of students born in each month of the year. Use this data to create an example of a bar graph. For example, 3 students were born in January, 7 in February, and so on.

Step 3:  Explain that one axis of the graph is where the  grouped data  (months) is presented while the other is a  frequency scale  (number of students) showing the quantity of each group.

Step 4:  When making a bar graph the data to be presented is used to create an appropriate interval scale. This scale helps people visualize and understand the data. (Point out the interval scale of the bar graph that you created.) Ask students how the graph would change in appearance if the scale were made of smaller intervals or larger intervals. A scale made of smaller intervals is better at illustrating small differences in bar height.

Step 5:  Direct students to the questions under "Work the Math" on the Bars, Lines, and Pies! Worksheet: Raising the Recycling Bar printable. Instruct them to create their first bar graph (Question 1) in the space provided and the second bar graph (Question 2) on a separate sheet of graph paper using the data provided in the table. Remind students to include a title and labels on their graphs and to neatly color in each bar. Once students have finished both graphs, instruct them to answer the remaining questions on the Bars, Lines, and Pies! Worksheet: Raising the Recycling Bar printable.

Step 6:  When students are done, review the answers on the Bars, Lines, and Pies! Worksheet: Raising the Recycling Bar printable and invite students to share their bar graphs with the class.

Step 7:  Have students explain differences in the data sets of bar graphs and pie charts. Ask how segment size and bar length perform similar functions in the two types of graphs.

Lesson Extensions

Bonus Activity

Have students continue working with bar graphs by completing the Bars, Lines, and Pies! Bonus Activity: Water Conservation: What Are the Winning Numbers? printable.

Real-World Math

Home Connections

Have students complete the Bars, Lines, and Pies! Family Activity: Subtracting Waste = Adding Trees: Read All About It! printable at home.

bar graph classroom activities


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Bar graphs lesson, learn about bar graphs with the following examples and interactive exercises.

Use the following examples and interactive exercises to learn about bar graphs.

Example 1: A survey of students' favorite after-school activities was conducted at a school. The table below shows the results of this survey.

Note that since the data in this table is not changing over time, a line graph would not be a good way to visually display this data. Each quantity listed in the table corresponds to a particular category. Accordingly, the data from the table above has been displayed in the bar graph below.

Students' Favorite After-School Activities

A  bar graph  is useful for comparing facts. The bars provide a visual display for comparing quantities in different categories.   Bar graphs help us to see relationships quickly. Another name for a bar graph is a bar chart. Each part of a bar graph has a purpose.

Now that we have identified the parts of a bar graph, we can answer some questions about the graph in Example 1.

Example 2: Students in a class voted on their favorite fruit. Each student voted once. The bar graph below summarizes the data collected from the class vote.

Students' Vote for Favorite Fruit

The bar graphs in Examples 1 and 2 each have horizontal bars. It is also possible to make a bar graph with vertical bars. You can see how this is done in Example 3 below.

Example 3: The amount of sugar in 7 different foods was measured as a percent  The data is summarized in the bar graph below.

Amount of Sugar in Certain Foods

Summary: A  bar graph  is useful for comparing facts. The bars provide a visual display for comparing quantities in different categories.   Bar graphs help us to see relationships quickly. Bar graphs can have horizontal or vertical bars. Another name for a bar graph is a bar chart.

Directions: Refer to the bar graph below to answer each question. For each exercise below, click once in the ANSWER BOX, type in your answer and then click ENTER. Your answer should be given as a word or as a  whole number. After you click ENTER, a message will appear in the RESULTS BOX to indicate whether your answer is correct or incorrect. To start over, click CLEAR.

Students in Mrs. Glosser's class were surveyed about snacks and asked to choose the one snack food they liked most from a list. The bar graph below summarizes the data collected from this survey.

Preferred Snacks for Students in Mrs. Glosser's Class

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Graphing Activities and Probability Hands-On Fun for Kids

Free Graphing Board Game for Kids

Teaching with graphing activities is one of the most enjoyable Math units of the year. Try these ideas for hands-on fun in the classroom!

bar graph classroom activities

Graphing Activities and Probability Lessons

It can be difficult for kids to understand what data is and how to organize it. For example, if you pour a bag of Skittles out into a pile and ask him/her how many red skittles there are, they will probably not be able to do so. The point of a graph is to organize data in an understandable way. In other words, organizing data into a graph helps kids answer questions about the data easily.

Graphing also allows kids to practice their sorting and observation skills as they sort items into like groups. In class, you can sort items by color, size, number, and or other descriptors. As a result, young learners become familiar with sorting information and graphing it. Most importantly, they develop math skills that they’ll use throughout their entire lives!

Kids can also gain a lot of insight into how probability plays out in our everyday lives. By using classroom activities and games, experiencing probability is an enjoyable learning time. Understanding comes easy with the ideas listed here!

Graphing Activities and Probability Experiences for Kids

Types of Graphs

Teach data analysis with graphing activities, and you enlighten and encourage a visual perspective of numbers. In return, math comes alive with useful and life-applicable skills in graphing. Whether coloring in a bar graph or creating a line plot, these different graphing activities will give kids the tools they need to understand graphing and data analysis.

bar graph classroom activities

bar graph classroom activities

Hands-On Graphing Activities

Graphing can be a lot of fun and is usually a favorite unit of the year. Use hands-on methods to graph data. These methods meet the needs of kinesthetic and visual learners. Plus, they’re just a fun way for all kids to learn! These graphing activities can easily be completed with a few basic supplies.

Topics for Graphing Activities

Kids learn better when there is a personal connection to the topic. In other words, surveying the class on a specific topic or opinion is one way to connect kids to what they’re learning. Ask them what their favorite food or sport is. Figure out when each kid’s birthday is or what color of shirt they’re wearing. Use this data to create a graph together as a whole class. It will help introduce the concept in a way that they can understand, while also modeling the correct way to gather information and plot it on a graph.

bar graph classroom activities

Probability Games and Activities

Teaching probability to kids involves giving them hands-on experiences that display probability in everyday life. There are several fun games and activities you can do in the classroom to give your students. These provide opportunities to learn what probability is, and how to use that understanding to make decisions or predict outcomes. They will be able to answer questions such as, “How likely is it for this to occur?” and “What is the probability of this happening?”

bar graph classroom activities

bar graph classroom activities

Graphing & Probability Children’s Books

Reading books can help kids learn graphing and data analysis. For example, these data analysis books will help kids learn how to graph, introducing them to different kinds of graphs. From pie charts to bar graphs, kids will explore data analysis as they graph information in an understandable way.

bar graph classroom activities

Resources for Teaching Graphing and Probability

The activities seen in this post are available in various resources found on  Teachers Pay Teachers . Click the images above to visit the unit that has the activity seen in the photo. Find out why teachers love the  Mindful Math program for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.

bar graph classroom activities

Kindergarten Graphing and Sorting Unit

First Grade Graphing & Money Unit

Second Grade Data Analysis, Graphing, & Probability Unit

What Teachers are Saying About Mindful Math Graphing Units

“My students loved the activities that went with this unit.” ~ Kimberly K. “This resource is incredible. In depth and very engaging!” ~ Katelyn D. “Love Proud to be Primary’s math units! Such a well-rounded way to teach math – pulling in literacy, whole and small group learning, independent practice, games, centre activities, journaling and more. Wonderfully scaffolded and easy to differentiate.” ~ Leah J.

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Graphing Activities & Probability Classroom Materials

Have good resources on hand to teach graphing and data analysis. Most importantly, using manipulatives while making graphs will help make learning more meaningful for kids. In addition to cubes and counting bears, having pocket charts and graphing mats will also help kids sort data together as they graph what they’re learning. Set up different graphing activities for learning centers, giving kids plenty of different ways to practice graphing. These graphing and sorting lessons have everything needed to do this.

Finding the right graphing activities is the key to success in teaching data analysis. Kids learn this important math skill with explicit teaching, and practice, and repetition. However, the most important thing is to make learning fun. The above activities will do that for your students.

Find More Math Activities

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Pattern Activities that Kids Love

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Counting Books and Videos

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Measurement Activities for Kids

bar graph classroom activities

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bar graph classroom activities

Explaining How to Make a Bar Graph

Lesson summary.

This is a third-grade math lesson in which students use data to make a bar graph. In small cooperative groups, they write a list of steps explaining how to make a bar graph and work on the collaborative skill of taking turns when talking.

Prerequisite skills: Students should be able to label parts of a bar graph and interpret a bar graph.

Students will list steps used to create a bar graph. Students in groups will take turns talking.

Large graph paper, markers


Students may create the bar graph using data they have collected or they may use the data that is provided. Explain to students that in their small groups they will create a bar graph and then write the steps they took to create the graph.

Explain that they will be working on taking turns talking in their small groups. Groups may have the speaker hold a designated object, such as a koosh ball, to indicate it is that student's turn to talk, or groups may have students speak in a specific order. Have groups determine how each student will take turns when speaking.

Direct students to turn to a neighbor and use Think-Pair-Share to explain the purpose of a bar graph (when you want to show data that can be read and compared quickly). When they are finished, have the whole class stand up. Ask a student pair to explain when they would use a bar graph.

After the first pair shares their answer, ask other pairs who have similar responses to sit down. Continue to have pairs share, and have pairs with similar responses sit down. During whole group instruction, model how to make a bar graph using data below.

Briefly discuss the data in the chart above. Brainstorm parts of a bar graph with students. Use large graph paper to create a bar graph, thinking aloud throughout the process.

Steps in the Process

Decide on a title for your graph (Pet Popularity).

Draw the vertical and horizontal axes.

Label the horizontal axes (Type of Pet).

Write the names of pets where the bars will be (Parakeet, Dog, and so on).

Label the vertical axes (Number of Students).

Decide on the scale. Explain that you should consider the least and the greatest number shown on the graph. Discuss what range of numbers should be shown on this bar graph (Begin at 0 and count by 5s to 25).

Draw a bar to show the total for each item.

Guided Practice

Have students write 5-7 words or phrases that explain the process of creating a bar graph.

Divide students into groups of 3 or 4. Review and assign group roles. Possible roles include: Recorder, Questioner, Organizer, and Encourager. Remind students that the collaborative skill that they are working on is "taking turns talking."

Give students a time limit of 10 minutes and remind them that you will give them a 5-minute warning. Have students combine and order their 5-7 words or phrases and then use them to write the steps for making a bar graph. This should include the best of each individual student's list, and will be the bar graph process the group presents to the rest of the class.

Check in with each group to ensure that they understand the objectives. Encourage students to use the class bar graph to help them.

As students work in their groups, monitor their progress and reinforce collaborative behaviors. Note how individual students are doing on both the academic and collaborative tasks to help improve grouping in future lessons. Help groups who seem stuck or confused. Give students group-processing time to reflect on how they worked collaboratively. For groups who are slow to discuss issues ask:

Were you able to take turns talking in your group?

What kinds of behaviors helped you to take turns?

Was your plan indicating whose turn it was to talk successful?

Return to the whole class. Have one student from each group explain the steps that their group wrote. Incorporate all groups' lists into one master list, keeping close to the actual order of steps you used. If the groups need help, ask some leading questions:

Were there steps that needed to be done first?

Was order important when writing your list?

Which steps had to be written first?

What words could I use to indicate the order of the steps?

See Cooperative Learning for more advice on group activities.

Pearson Education

Help your students learn how to analyze and present data

Use this lesson plan to help students learn how to read and create bar graphs and to work cooperatively in groups. Detailed steps are outlined to follow which will enhance your lesson and help your students be successful as they work in cooperative learning groups to complete creating the bar graphs.

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