Get ready to watch your students’ analytical skills blossom while working through this carefully structured exploration of data and graphing! Students will have multiple opportunities to organize data, build their own picture graphs, bar graphs, and line plots, and ask and answer questions about visual representations of data. This includes examining the crucial differences between how we choose to represent categorical and numerical data. Graphing is a difficult skill for 3rd graders, but this unit will make the information accessible and fun for your little statisticians.
- Mini-Unit 1: Scaled Picture Graphs
- Mini-Unit 2: Scaled Bar Graphs
- Mini-Unit 3: Line Plots
Mini-Unit 1: Scaled Picture Graphs
Single scale picture graphs are the most concrete form of graphs students can work with – 1 symbol equals 1 data point. Students will begin working with graphs using single scale picture graphs, but there will be more categories and more data points than they likely worked with in 2nd grade. Towards the end of Lesson 1, students will need to make a picture graph with too many symbols! This leads logically to the development of using scaled symbols to represent more than 1 data point at a time. Scaled symbols then provide ample opportunities for students to use their valuable multiplication skills to analyze and interpret data. Lesson 3 lets students sit back and enjoy working with scaled picture graphs that someone else has been nice enough to make for them. Your 3rd graders will come out of Mini-Unit 1 with an understanding of parts of a graph, issues related to working with scales, and a working knowledge of categorical data and what it can tell us.
Mini-Unit 2: Scaled Bar Graphs
Bar graphs are 1 step more abstract than picture graphs. Again, students will start work with single scale bar graphs to represent data with several categories. Numbering on the x or y axis makes bar graphs easy to work with, but students will experience how quickly you can run out of room representing more than 10 or 12 data points in 1 category. Then, students get to transition to scaled bar graphs, which can represent way more data in way less space.
Students will review their work with number scales from Mini-Unit 1, including how to decide on an appropriate number scale given the quantity of data points in each category. They will work with tally charts and frequency tables to build vertical and horizontal bar graphs to represent a variety of different types of categorical data. Lesson 3 once again allows students to work with pre-made scaled bar graphs. They will work through answering questions requiring 1 step to answer, more than 1 step to answer, and incorporating outside information to answer bigger picture questions. You will appreciate how many opportunities students will have to work with unique graphs.
Mini-Unit 3: Line Plots
3rd grade is the first time students are exposed to line plots with fractions. But, after working with categorical data for 2 Mini-Units, they will quickly grasp the difference between line plots and categorical data graphs. Students will go through Lesson 1 learning all the things about building line plots with whole numbers. Lesson 2 teaches students to measure to the nearest quarter inch while answering questions about a collection of measurements. Lesson 3 combines the skills from Lessons 1 & 2 to analyze measurement data and build line plots with fraction measurement data. Perhaps the most important take-away from this lesson (after the understanding of numerical versus categorical data) is equal number intervals, which will reappear in their lives graphing for years to come. This Mini-Unit reviews measuring with rulers and relates rulers to number lines with fraction measurements, including working with ordered mixed numbers. Students should finish this Mini-Unit confident in their understanding of line plots, measuring, and representing and interpreting data.
Digital Guided Math Activities Included!
Each component of the 3rd Grade Guided Math Curriculum comes in printable and digital versions to maximize your flexibility teaching these important concepts. YOU can choose which version of each lesson component should be used – and when – for your diverse learners.