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Grade: Elementary
Subject: Mathematics

#3243. Bar Graphs

Mathematics, level: Elementary
Posted Mon Oct 11 11:18:21 PDT 2004 by Kristen Zameroski (
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Johnstown, PA USA
Materials Required: Paper, pencils, cereal, crayons, glue, bar graph worksheet, Ziploc bags, colored chalk, tape
Activity Time: 1 hour
Concepts Taught: Mesurement, Statistics

Instructional Procedures:

Anticipatory Set:

• The teacher will tell the students that they will be constructing various bar graphs today.
• The teacher will explain the first activity to the students. The students will line up in the room according to their birthdates without writing or talking. The students will place themselves correctly in chronological order using their fingers to represent months and dates. The teacher will tell the students where in the room the January birthdates will stand, and each month will follow suit. The students will state their birthdates one at a time starting with January and the teacher will write their names and birthdates on a chart. The students will sit down and the class will make a bar graph at their seats with crayons while the teacher makes one on the chart showing the number of student birthdays in each month. The students will keep their graphs and the teacher will hang the chart on the wall to use for birthday celebrations.
• The teacher will pass out crayons and paper to all of the students to use for their bar graphs while they are forming the line.

Developmental Activities:

• The teacher will tell the students about the next activity that they will be doing.
• The teacher will pass out the cereal bags, plain white paper, and glue to students and tell them to not eat the cereal. If they do eat any cereal, they will not be allowed to participate in the activity. The teacher will also tell the students not to throw the cereal at anyone or throw the cereal in the air and try to catch it in their mouth or they will be punished.
• The teacher will explain to the students that they will be taste-testing four different kinds of cereal. The students will each pick their favorite cereal and we will go around the room and make a tally mark on the board for each student's favorite. The students will also write this down at their seats. The students will then make and label a bar graph using the information. The students will glue the cereal pieces in the corresponding column on their graph to represent the amount for each of the different kinds of cereal. The teacher will then collect the graphs and display them around the room.
• The teacher will tell the students that she has their favorite cereal for them to eat after the activity is completed if they are well-behaved.
• The teacher will walk around, observing each student as they make their graphs. Before hanging them up in the room, the teacher will correct each student's graph.
• The teacher will assist students when needed.
• When all students have finished, the teacher will collect the students' graphs and will pass out cereal to the students that they may eat.


• The teacher will pass out a worksheet to each of the students that instructs them to construct various bar graphs. The students will use crayons to make the graphs. Before passing out the worksheets, the teacher will show an example to the students of how to do the worksheet on the board. She will use the example of hair colors of students in the classroom.
• The teacher will tell the students that they have 15 minutes to complete the worksheet.
• The teacher will walk around and assess the students as they are completing the worksheet.
• At the end of 15 minutes, the teacher will tell the students to gather on the floor in front of the chalkboard and to bring their worksheets with them.
• The students will go over the worksheet together and discuss why they made their bar graphs the way that they did. Students will be called on to show their graph on the board, using colored chalk. Students will discuss their answers and may ask questions.
• The teacher will then collect the worksheets from the students and tell the students to line up according to their hair color. The teacher will show the students how their living bar graph reflects the bar graph on the board.
• The teacher will then tell the students to quietly return to their seats.


• The teacher will observe the students during the different activities.
• The teacher will collect the cereal graphs and assess them before hanging them up.
• The teacher will go over the worksheet with the students and collect for assessment.

Special Needs Adaptations:

A student that is visually impaired could work with a partner and the partner could help him or her make their cereal graph. Someone could also help the visually impaired student find his or her place in line during the birthday activity.

Technology Integration

When there is one computer available in the classroom that is equipped with an overhead projector and screen, online access to the Internet, and Office tools, such as Word and PowerPoint, technology can very easily be integrated into the classroom. For this lesson, the teacher can use a PowerPoint slide to show what the bar graph looks like, rather than showing the students on the chalkboard. This is great for the students because the bar graph will be more colorful and appealing to the students. It will also be easier for the students to see because the screen is very large and in the center of the room.
A greater advantage is having six computers available in the classroom that are clustered together, and a teacher station with an overhead projector and screen in front of the class. This gives the students an opportunity to have a technology station to go to and do research during class. For this lesson, students will use the Graph Master software to practice working with bar graphs. You can purchase this software online at This software has gotten great reviews and would be really great for the students to use.
If your classroom has the luxury of every student having a computer to use, then technology can be used for many different things. In this lesson, I will have the students create a survey of 4 different questions in Microsoft Word. The students will ask such questions as; What is your favorite food in the cafeteria? After the students have created their survey, they will go around the room and ask the students to answer their survey. After each student has the results of their survey, they will create a 5 slide PowerPoint presentation in which they will illustrate the results of their survey with colorful bar graphs. The students will each have an opportunity to present their information to the class in a presentation.