RECYCLING BAR GRAPHS

Goals/Rationale:  We chose this lesson because it is imperative that children learn how to collect and graph data.  In addition, it is also important that children learn how to interpret graphed data as well.

Focus Content Area:  In this lesson, the students will focus on:
-recognizing and understanding a bar graph and its components
-use data to create a bar graph

NCTM Standards:  -Collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments
-Represent data using tables and graphs such as bar graphs

These Standards are met as a result of the activity in general.  The students will be collecting data from observations and converting the found data into bar graphs.

ISBE Standards:    Organize and display data using pictures, tallies, tables, charts, bar graphs, etc. As a result of observation and data collection, the students will engage in creating bar graphs, thus fulfilling the aforementioned Standards.

Setting/Context/Problem: To help the children relate this lesson to their everyday lives, it was decided that the framework of the lesson would be based on recycling.  Not only will the children be learning about graphing, but they will find out how recycling plays a role in their lives.  The main purpose of this lesson is to not only introduce the children to bar graphs, but to help them see that they can apply this lesson to things in the environment around them, in this case, recycling.

Materials/Resources:  -Dry erase or chalk board
-Dry erase markers or chalk
-Graph paper
-Sample bar graph on a transparency
-Pieces of recycling (paper, plastic, cardboard, aluminum, etc)

Instructional Procedure:

Introduction - The lesson will begin with a few questions to be directed to the students as a type of  informal introduction to bar graphs.  They will be asked to look back, and use, prior knowledge.

Sample questions:
-What is a graph?
-Where have you seen graphs?
-Name some different kinds of graphs

After asking a few general questions, use the overhead graph to go over the basic parts of a bar graph.
-Title
-Where do you normally find a title?

Refer directly to the sample overhead graph.
-Labels
-What are the categories of the graph?
-Numbering
-What number increments are used?
-Information
-What information can be graphed?

After discussing the sample graph, introduce recycling topic.  Distribute recycling trash piles among desks.  Have the students observe what they see.  After a few minutes, go through, step-by-step, having class discuss and suggest number increments to be used, appropriate categories to be used, and preparing the title and labels together, jotting all of the information down on the overhead.

When all components have been discussed, have the children work either alone or with a partner to develop a bar graph reflecting their observations and all of the required bar graph components.In closing, have children present and explain the bar graphs that they created.

Assessment:  The assessment method would take multiple forms.  First and foremost, observation throughout class will undoubtedly play a huge role.  It is important that the teacher keep a close eye on all students, giving her an opportunity to see firsthand how children are progressing through a lesson.  The other form of assessment will be the work the children present.  The children will have to be able to explain why they did what they did on the graph which will show either a firm understanding or lack thereof.

Adaptations:  In the event that there is a student with learning difficulties, especially in math, an adaptation would obviously have to be made.  In the case that the student just needs a little extra assistance when learning something new, it might be a good idea to pair that particular student up with a student who understands bar graphs.  If there is one or more students who are having difficulties understanding the bar graph concept, it would be beneficial to all to go over the sample graph more closely.  In addition, it would help to have the students, instead of just offering suggestions, to decide as a class what number increments to use, which categories to use, and prepare the title and labels together.

Extensions:  There are many extension activities that could be used in conjunction with this bar graph lesson.  The children could utilize the Internet to search for bar graphs used to convey official recycling information.  This would allow them to see that the work that they did in class is actually used in real life to show numbers and trends in recycling.

In addition, the students could take the skills that they developed during the lesson to their home to develop a bar graph based on the recycling trash at their homes.  They could record and graph the data based upon the criterion discussed in class.

Finally, since the entire unit is based on recycling, an appropriate culminating activity, or just an activity in general, might be a planned trip to a recycling plant.  Here the students could see for themselves how important what they are discussing in class is.  They would also be able to see the different kinds of graphs utilized at the plant.

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