Line plot fun!

Line plots.... a graph that we use every day in life! Oh, wait. We never use them. When is the last time that you opened up a newspaper and saw information in a line plot? Perhaps I am just missing it, but I never have! However in third-grade in my state, our kiddos need to know the ins and outs of line plots. Below is my favorite graphing lesson - the kids love it too!

First, the kids and I make a list of things that a line plot must have!

  • Line (of course!)
  • Labels
  • Key
  • Title

Next, I explain to the kids that each of them will receive a box of raisins. We will be seeing if all the raisins have the exact same amount in each box, and if not, then what is the highs and lows of the raisin count. The kids go back to their seat and count their raisins. My kids tend to get veryyyyyyy excited about fun, tactile lessons. I make sure to remind them that there is no touching of the raisins or boxes until I tell them to! This helps cut down on distracted students playing with their boxes. 

When told to start, each student opens up their box of raisins and counts the raisins inside. On the board, I drew a long line. Together the kids and I brainstormed a good title for the graph, as well as create the key. I ask the students who thinks that they have the LEAST amount of raisins. I call on a student, then ask if anyone has lower than the amount (for example, "does anyone have less than 10 raisins?"). Then I do the same thing but asking for the highest amount of raisins. Together, the kids and I figure out what the interval on the line plot will be.

I explain how to make a tape donut, and walk around and give each student one piece of tape. They place their tape donut onto their box. I start calling kids up to place their raisin box over the amount of raisins in their box. It's so much fun watching the kids start creating the graph and seeing the average amounts!

This activity would also work well with mini bags of Skittles, M&Ms, pretzels.... the possibilities are endless! Let me know if you've done this activity or a similar and what you thought of it :-)

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