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Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Graphing: Introduction (Pre K-2)

Graphing organizes data so patterns and relationships that might otherwise be missed stand out clearly.
You can approach graphing as a in-stages process. 
Begin Graphing with Actual Objects
Groundhog's Day Predictions
An example of this is our Groundhog's Day Predictions graph.Everyone took a guess whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow by putting the cookie the appropriate side up on the graphing chart.

Next Use Picture Graphs
Paper Button Graphing
Picture graphs use a pictorial representation of the actual object on the graph. We used paper buttons rather than actual buttons for one of our graphs. We had sorted actual buttons in many different ways, then they  made their own paper buttons, designing them any way they wanted. Once they were completed, they began graphing them in several ways, using different criteria. They used a piece of posterboard or a dry erase board to make your graph and they placed their buttons on where it is appropriate. First they graphed them according to how many holes they had and then they graphed them according to what shape they were, continuing on for as long as they wanted. 

What are some other things that can be graphed in this way? Any math manipulatives or items from junk boxes can be sorted in this way, with the student making paper representations. If you use the whole family to help with giving data, you can ask such questions as: What would you like for lunch? (If you have four options.) What color Lifesaver is your favorite? What would you like best for a birthday present? What game would you like to play? Use pictures of the different items, from magazine cut-out or student or teacher drawn to fill out the graph.
Graph comparing the number of diesel and steam engines at Railroad Trains, Part 3 Types of Trains
Lastly Symbolic Representation Graphs
Finally, you can now graph just with symbolic representation. For, example, James made a bar graph, comparing the number of diesel and steam engines in use from 1941-1981. You can easily see how the use of diesel engines went up while the use of steam engines went down.

source: Math Their WayMary Baratta-Lorton


  1. Fantastic post, Phyllis! I was just thinking that we really need to incorporate more graphing into our lessons and days. Thank you so much!

    1. Graphing cookies. How yummy!

    2. We always seem to include food in our math activities. It makes math a bit sweeter.


  2. Phyllis, could I ask what makes you go onto a text book method as your children get older?
    I just need/want to take the leap....It's funny, I don't use any curriculum apart from maths. I don't understand why I'm procrastinating getting rid of curriculum altogether.

    1. I try to prepare my children for going to college, and I have found that using textbooks for the four years of high school really helps with that. The had never before taken tests or answered essay questions and it is a skill that seems to take them about four years to accomplish. I also find that my teens like having a different teacher every so often. Katie took classes outside the home for that, but Sam is a homebody and prefers his teacher to be the computer math and video Latin programs.

    2. I also found it hard to give up the security of curriculum, but I am amazed at how much better they do without it. They have real understanding rather than ability to answer the question. Your school is incredible in its depth and there is no way any curriculum could hold a candle to it. I am sure your math program would be the same way.

  3. I like to add an element of computer graphing, too. Though I think the cookie graph will probably always be a favorite :)

    1. We have never done computer graphing. Is that a program you use?

  4. Great post, Phyllis! Please consider sharing this at the After School Linky Party up on my blog right now (and every Monday)!


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