Using Names to Explore Graphing

Early Years
Age 3-6 


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.

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