Graphing With Insects

Brittany Zae

This lesson is designed to teach students to draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Plus, solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems.

Grade Level: 1 - 3rd


Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

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Common Core Alignment

CCSS: MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.D.10 - Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems1 using information presented in a bar graph.

Objectives & Outcomes

Students will be able to collect data and draw a bar graph of their findings.

Materials Needed

  • plastic bugs: spiders, crickets, worms, etc.
  • graph paper


Opening to Lesson

  • Start by asking students: “raise your hand to answer: How many of you like insects?” “What is your favorite insect?”
  • Think Pair Share with partners (write answers on the board).
  • If we write down every time someone says butterfly, then we would have to count all the times we write it down.
  • Today we are going to learn how to take this “data” and put it into a bar graph that will make it easier for us to know what the class’s favorite insect is.

Body of Lesson

Direct Teaching

  •  VIDEO: show Math Monsters video on bar graphs
  • Using data from the introduction, show students how you would put that information into a bar graph
  • Introduce the parts of the bar graph: title and measurements
  • Show students how to draw the lines on the graph paper
  • Input “favorite insect” data

Guided Practice 1

  • Using the projector, project a pre-made graph onto the white board
  • Show students a data set.
  • Using popsicle sticks, ask students to help fill out the graph on the board. Students will follow along with teacher; students will engage and may be expected to come up to the board to participate in graphing items on the projected bar graph.
  • (CFU: “What did we graph here? what was the data that we graphed?) 

Guided Practice 2

  • Partners A/B: give each group a bar graph similar to the one created in GP1 with a different data set, help the whole class by working through the setting up the graph and then have partners complete the bar graph.

Independent Practice

  • Have students create their own bar graph with the bag of plastic insects: give students graph paper and tell them they will now assemble their own bar graph, they will have to collect the data by counting the bugs in their bags, then fill in their graph with the data they collect.


  1. What did you learn today?
  2. Who asked a good question/contributed to today’s lesson?
  3. What did you like about today’s activity?
  4. How can we make it better next time?
  5. How can we use this outside of the classroom? or why is this important to the world outside our classroom?
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Assessment & Evaluation

Through guided questions, close monitoring and informal observation; the teacher will be able to assess student’s ability and understanding of the subject being introduced. Through individually assessing during independent practice and reviewing during guided practice the teacher will be able to evaluate students.

Modification & Differentiation

Students may work in groups or individually in order to complete their assignments. In order to accommodate for all students, allow extra time to review for lower students and extra worksheets to occupy the time of advanced students.

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