Using Names to Explore Graphing

Early Years (Age 3 – 6)

Curriculum Goal

Kindergarten: Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviour

  • Demonstrate literacy behaviours that enable beginning readers to make sense of a variety of texts (#9).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of numbers, using concrete materials to explore and investigate counting, quantity, and number relationships (#15).
  • Collect, organize, display, and interpret data to solve problems and to communicate information, and explore the concept of probability in everyday contexts (#19).


  • Teacher works with groups of 8 to 10 children.
  • This activity will be done at the carpet and at tables.


  • A strip of paper with the outline of the letters in each student’s name
  • The letters of each students’ name cut-out and paper-clipped to the strip of paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Number cards – the numbers one to 10 written on separate cards


  • Discuss the idea that each person’s name is a puzzle, use your own name as an example matching the cut out letters to your strip of paper.
  • Hand out the strips of paper, letters and glue sticks, have the children make their “name puzzle” at a table.
  • Once all children have made a name puzzle, gather on the carpet and ask students to count how many letters are in their name.
  • Pull out cards with numbers on them on.
  • Hold up a number card and ask whether that number represents the number of letters in any of the students’ names.
  • When the number corresponding to their name is called, invite the student(s) to put their “name puzzle” on the floor under the number card with the appropriate number.
  • This will create a graph on the floor.
  • Analyze the graph by asking: “What number has the most names under it?” and “What about the least number of names?”
  • Ask about observations, “How many students have 8 letters in their name?”
  • Post the graph in the classroom and refer to it when appropriate.

Look Fors

  • Does the student recognize their own name when held up?
  • Do the students recognize the letters in their names and their sounds?
  • What order does the student glue the letters on?
  • Are the students counting accurately?
  • How do the students observe the graph? Do they see which group has the greatest number of people? The least number?


  • This activity can be paired with the Sorting Apples lesson for an exploration of graphs.

Related Lessons

Develop your students’ ability to identify and sort objects by different characteristics.

An introductory activity to get students thinking about sorting and learning about graphs.

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