Create Your Own Graph: A Math Collaboration in 5 Steps

Recently, a second-grade teacher and I had the opportunity to work together on a project in math. Her class was finishing a unit on graphing and I recommended the book The Great Graph Contest by Loreen Leedy. The book sparked discussion in her classroom and the students wanted to create their own graphs based on questions of their choice.

Here are the 5 steps that were used to complete this project:

Step 1: Set Up

The classroom teacher and I had to figure out the logistics of the project before introducing it to students. That way it would be easy to manage with multiple groups. The students used iPads to complete parts of this project.

The students began by creating a survey. They used Google Forms to complete this part. The classroom teacher created an example and had students answer her survey to begin the lesson.

A template for students to use to make their own survey was created before the lesson began. This made it easy to open, edit, and share while students worked. We made sure that the settings to share were not restricted so that students could open their survey on their device without logging in. Each group was assigned a color and the template they used matched that color.

Step 2: Create Surveys

The students worked with a partner. Each partnership created a question and three possible answers. Once they agreed on the question and answers they came to a teacher to help them fill in their template.

Once their survey was created, the students opened the link on their iPad and were ready to collect responses. Our school uses a learning management platform called Canvas. Our students have the Canvas app on their iPads and can access class pages there. The links for each group were posted on the class page and students could click their group’s link once their survey was completed.  Click here to see a survey example.

Step 3: Collect Responses

The students had fifteen minutes to go around the school building and ask eight to ten teachers to complete their survey. The teacher responded using the Google Form on the student’s iPad. For this project, the students only surveyed the teachers. This decision was made in order to keep the results manageable for students to analyze and create their graphs independently.

Step 4: Analyze Results

Once the students had collected their responses, the results were printed. Google Forms will export the results to an Excel spreadsheet. This option made printing the results fast and easy. Once the students had their spreadsheet they identified how many responses they had for each answer. They created a tally chart to organize their data.

Step 5: Create a Graph

Finally, each group decided what kind of graph they wanted to create. They also decided on how to display their graphs. Some groups just created it on a whiteboard and took a picture. Some created it using graph paper, and still others made it digitally. The classroom teacher uses the SeeSaw app to document and share their work. Both the tally chart and graph that each group created were uploaded to SeeSaw as a way to submit their work.

This project came out of inspiration from a book. As a school librarian that is always a great feeling when books can spark creativity and lead to so much more. It was interesting to see how each group approached the project, what questions they wanted to ask, and how they planned their graph. I am excited to see what we can do next!


Author: Kelly Hincks

I am the librarian at Detroit Country Day Lower School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I have worked as a school librarian for the past eleven years. I was a classroom teacher for four years prior to that. I have worked in charter, public, and private schools. My favorite thing about being a school librarian is the opportunities I have to work both with students and teachers. I love the co-teaching opportunities and connections I have been able to make! I have served on AASL committees as a member and chair. I currently serve as secretary of my state association, Michigan Association of School Librarians (MASL).

Categories: Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration, Technology

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