6 Quick Ways to Make Graphs Visual for Upper Elementary Students
Graphing can be challenging for students, especially in the upper elementary grades. However, by making graphing visual, teachers can help students better understand this important math concept. As a teacher, I know your time is limited so here are five quick ways to make graphing visual for your upper elementary students. Some of the links below are Amazon associate links and I may receive a small commission from them.
1. Use Color
Color can help bring graphing to life for students. Encourage students to use different colors for each set of data they graph. This can help students see patterns and relationships more easily. My students always love the opportunity to use ALLL of the markers, crayons, highlighters, and gel pens. Just make sure you hide your beloved flair pens.
2. Incorporate Pictures
Pictures can be a great way to make graphing visual for students. For example, students can draw pictures of objects and then graph the data related to those objects, such as their height or weight. They can also use pictures in plot diagrams or pictographs.
3. Create Graphs on the Board
Creating graphs on the board is a great way to help students see the process of graphing in action. As you work through the process, ask questions and encourage students to participate. My favorite way to easily make graphs on the board is with sticky notes. Give students a sticky note to quickly make a bar graph.
4. Use Graph Paper
Graph paper can be a helpful tool for students as they work through graphing exercises. Graph paper helps students see the scale and axis of the graph, making it easier for them to understand the relationships between the data they are graphing.
5. Utilize Math Picture Books
Integrating math picture books into your lessons can help students see the relevance of graphing in real-life scenarios. Look for books that specifically showcase graphing and the use of data in a fun and engaging way. Here are a few of my favorites:
"The Great Graph Contest” by Loreen Leedy
"Sir Cumference and the Off-the-Charts Dessert" by Cindy Neuschwander and Wayne Geehan
“Tiger Math, Learning to Graph from a Baby Tiger” by Ann Whitehead Nagda and Cindy Bickel
“Lemonade for Sale” by Stuart J. Murphy, Illustrated by Tricia Tusa
6. Watch Real World Examples on Youtube
Youtube has many educational videos that can help students understand graphing and data analysis. I especially love to show my students examples of graphs in the real world. Can your students hypothesize how these local businesses might use graphs or charts?
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By using these 6 quick ways to make graphing visual for your upper elementary students, you can help students better understand this important math concept.