Saturday, May 5, 2012

Line Plot Mania

I am a huge fan of hands-on math.  HUGE.  This is probably why I love teaching measurement so much. It's naturally hands-on. This past week, we had lots of hands-on fun with measurement and line plots!



We started off our week of measuring and plotting with this class line plot. 


Each student measured a line (to the nearest inch) and was given a pink X to graph on the line plot. 


The class line plot was simply a sentence strip that I turned into a number line.   The students came up one by one and placed their X on the graph.  Then, we talked about the graph and how to read and interpret the data.  Then, we wrote statements about it. 


I loved that the class line plot then served as a starting point for each of our subsequent lessons during the rest of the week. I used it to review how we made it, how to read and interpret its data, and so forth. 


After we finished up the class line plot, I gave the students some independent practice with creating a line plot.  I gave each table group a set of animals to measure. But, first, they had to estimate the height of each animal. 


Tip: When making estimations, have your students write their answer with crayon. When they estimate in crayon, they can't go back and erase/change their answer.  It's a great way to encourage them to be more reasonable with their answers and reminds them that an estimation is merely a guess and it's OK if they aren't correct every single time.  


We also had some hands on fun measuring a random collection of classroom supplies. And, I do mean random.  Yes, I have a stash of bubble wands in my classroom. Doesn't everyone?  ;)



This activity was especially fun because all of those supplies were placed in a bag and the students got to reach in and grab the items one at a time.  Ah, the simple thrill of a paper bag. It's the little things, friends.

Each table group was given a bag of items to measure.  First, they estimated the length of each object (yep, using crayon).  Then, they measured each item to the nearest inch.  They used a table to record all of this information and then used their data to create a line plot.  Finally, they answered some questions about their line plot (oops, didn't get a pic of that page).


We also did a little math craft.  It was super fun!  And, it will spruce up our walls once I hang all of them up!  Each student created a topiary garden scene.


I gave them the templates for the topiaries, which they colored.  To create the rest of the scene, they pretty much had free rein. I put out some construction paper and let them get to work.  Once their garden scene was created, they measured the height of each topiary to the nearest inch.  They used this data to create a line plot and then answered some questions about the line plot. 

These activities were a huge hit with the students!  They were fully engaged in all of the activities and enjoyed the hands-on nature of each activity.

You can find these activities in my Measure and Plot unit on TPT.  It also includes options for measuring to the nearest centimeter.



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