Building a Graph Together

Curriculum – Data Management and Probability 

For students to sort, classify, and display a variety of concrete objects, collect data, begin to read and describe displays of data, and begin to explore the concept of probability in everyday contexts.


Students begin by sitting in front of the board or graph paper. Students will have some previous experience with graphs.


  • Blank sheet of chart paper
  • Markers
  • Ruler


  • Tell students that as a class you will be building a graph.
  • Review the different components of a graph – title, columns, rows, and equal spacing. Don’t add the numbers just yet.


  • Have students choose what the class should graph about – it can be anything from favourite ice cream flavours, favourite colour, etc.
  • Begin to create the graph outlining and emphasizing the different components of a graph.
  • Once the graph is built, have each child fill in their own name where they think it belongs on the graph. Keep in mind that each child should fill in one spot as opposed to two kids filling one spot.
  • After all the children have filled in their name…
    • Ask: “How many kids like chocolate ice cream?” or whatever the topic may be.
    • Go through each of the options asking children how many are in each column.


  • Turn students’ attention to the blank column on the far left of the graph.
    • Ask: “What could we put here to help us know more quickly how many children like chocolate best etc.?”
  • Fill in the numbers and now the graph is complete.

For next lesson see: “Graphs on paper

Based on Carol Stephenson’s Mathematics Lesson