Math Background

Graphing Data: Tips and Tricks

  • “Use” children as much as possible for data collection. Sort them by attributes such as hair color or eye color, as well as by asking them questions about favorite things: foods, pets, vacations, and so on. This allows you to create many different tables, charts, and graphs in which children have a high interest.
  • Have children survey their family members (or classmates) about their favorite animals, foods, or activities. In class, prepare blank tally charts with the same categories so that children can compare their results. Provide general questions such as, “In which family or in whose survey did more people prefer pizza?” Have children work in pairs to compare data by using the questions. Finally, children can create bar graphs based on the data in their tally charts.
  • Use tally charts to keep score when playing classroom games. This will help to reinforce the concept that one tally mark equals one point and will show the children other uses for tallies.
  • Whenever possible, show results in multiple forms. Seeing the same data in a tally chart, a table, a pictograph, and a bar graph helps reinforce the relationship between each form of data representation.
  • Show children examples of simple tables, bar graphs, and pictographs from newspapers and magazines. In-school magazines geared to grade level are a good source of graphs and charts. Have children bring in examples of graphs as well.
  • Have children spin a spinner or roll a number cube ten times and record the number they get each time in a tally chart or on a blank line plot. Then have them determine the range and mode of the data.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 2