Data Representation and the Easter Bunny: 1st Grade Lesson

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Discussion/Introduction

We’ve just celebrated Easter, and it’s the perfect time for a lesson on data collection and representation! After all, how else could the Easter Bunny get all the information he needs to bring perfect Easter baskets to every household, if it weren’t for a bit of mathematical genius?

Objective

Students will learn how to organize data with up to three categories and represent it on a simple grid. They’ll learn to interpret such graphs, and practice writing statements  answering questions on data recorded.

 

 

Supplies

  • Bunny ears, if you want to be fun and go in character!
  • 1st Grade Data Representation Worksheet, one per student.

Methodology/Procedure

You want to start by giving your students the lay of the land. 1st graders like to know what’s what, and there are many children who learn better if they can see a ‘road map’, so to speak, of where they’re going and what they’re meant to do. So start with a discussion like this one:

There’s an enormous amount of information in the world, and part of our job as intelligent people is to gather that information, organize it so that it is in a way we can use, and interpret it. It comes to us like a big unorganized pile, and our job is to take this messy information and make it nice and neat and easy to use.

Today we get to learn how to do just that, and to make it extra fun, let’s start with as story. Can anyone tell me which holiday has just been (or is coming up)?

Easter!

Yes! And who comes to visit Easter morning, before you’ve even got up?

The Easter Bunny!

You’re right, it’s the Easter Bunny! He comes to bring yummy treats or special little presents, but he doesn’t bring the same thing to each house; somehow he needs to know what is the perfect Easter surprise for every little girl and boy.

How many little girls and boys does the Easter bunny visit?

Give your students a chance to discuss the numbers, as specifically or vaguely as they like. The take away point: Lots and lots!

Now put on your bunny ears: this is when the fun begins! You can get into character as much or as little as you like, depending on your personal teaching style; but the children will certainly appreciate you unbending a little and helping the pretend along with a few apt characterizations.

Let’s pretend I’m the Easter bunny, and pretend I have a bag full of special treats. I’ve got white chocolate eggs and brown chocolate eggs, and I’ve got some plastic eggs filled with other fun surprises for children whose parents don’t want them to get too much candy. Suppose that I have a little notebook, and well before Easter, I start making plans so that on the big day I’ll know what I have to deliver where. I could go hide in everyone’s back yard and listen till I found out what kind of surprise they’d prefer, but since we’re all in class now, I’ll just ask.

Starting with the front, ask the children which type of Easter surprise they would prefer: brown chocolate, white chocolate, or plastic eggs with little surprises. Write the information on the chalkboard in complete sentences, for instance “Leanna likes brown chocolate eggs best.” Go through six or seven children, and then stop and look at the board. Ask your students how much paper it would take for the Easter bunny to take notes on everyone he brought gifts to, and whether, when it was all written down, it would be easy for him to see how many brown chocolate eggs he needed and if he needed more plastic eggs than white chocolate eggs or more white chocolate than plastic eggs.

Give the students a chance to discuss this; the conclusion, if you’ve done it right, should be quite simple:this is messy and difficult! Talk about what might make it easy. Some ideas they might come up with are neater handwriting, or using different columns (or notebook pages) for each of the three categories.   Then tell your students you want to show them a super-easy way to write down information so it’s easy to look up after.

Draw a large rectangle, and divide it into three rows and two columns; your first column will be used for labels and can be much narrower than the second. In the first column, write the labels. “Prefers brown chocolate”, “Prefers white chocolate”, “Prefers plastic eggs “ Go through the class again, asking the same questions and noting names in the appropriate columns.

Tell them your columns are called a graph, and ask which way is easier to collect information: noting it in a graph, or writing about it? They should be pretty unanimous that the graph is easier.

What about if you need to know which to pack more of, white chocolate, brown chocolate, or plastic eggs? Show your students how they can find this information in a glance from the graph. Drawing it from the written record is time consuming and difficult.

Ask how many baskets with plastic eggs you would need if you were delivering Easter baskets to all the students in the class.

Now give the students the handout, and ask them what three types of surprises they’d want to bring if they were an Easter bunny with the power to bring gifts to all their class-mates. Guide them in filling out the first column, and have them survey the other students in the class, writing down the names in the appropriate rows.

Allow them to take turns showing their graph and sharing the information with the class. Ask which surprise most students preferred, which surprise fewer students were interested in, and how many students wanted a particular surprise. As an added exercise, you could have the students write three or four sentences describing their findings in their math journals. This will help cement the work they’ve done in class.

Common Core Standards

This lesson is aligned to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.  In 1.MD.4, The Common Core Standards read

1.MD.4 Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.

Web Resources/Further Exploration

This lesson plan (available here  as a pdf download ) is only one in a series of engaging, fun math lesson plans coordinated to the Common Core and easy to use in the classroom. Browse through the other lessons at http://www.mathwarehouse.com/topic, and enjoy the wealth of other math resources available at Mathwarehouse.com

 

Other Resources

Fraction Visualizer

 

Simplify Fractions Calculator

 

Fraction Games

 

Simplify Fraction calculator

Fraction Calculator

Fractions Lesson Plan for 1st Grade

Portion of Worksheet

Portion of Worksheet

 

Discussion/Introduction

Download Lesson Plan

I love teaching first grade because I get the honor of introducing my students to wonderful mathematical concepts for the first time. The concept of fractions, for instance. What isn’t exciting about it? That we can divide a concrete whole into bits, mix them up, and then put them together whatever way we like is a mind-boggling concept when you think about it. One is not an indivisible atom; it is a number that can be cut up any way you like. Playing with fractions is an exciting game, a game you as a first grade teacher have a special chance to introduce.

Here you’ll find my fractions lesson plan for first grade, as well as the handouts that go with the lesson. I find playdough a wonderful tool to use when teaching fractions in first grade because it lends itself well to out of the box division. A ball of playdough can be divided into parts of any size and then put back together, and working on division with playdough also allows the student to explore the infinite possibilities of ways to divide up a mass into a given number of equal sets. You can make enough playdough for the whole class at very little cost, using my easy recipe. Once you’ve finished whatever classroom use you want to make of the playdough, let each child take their lump home in a Ziploc bag. Include a printout of game instructions for the parents so your math explorers can continue their fraction learning at home.

First Grade Fractions Lesson Plan: Playdough and Sharing Fair

Objective

Students will be able to partition circles, rectangles, and other masses into two and four equal shares. They will be able to describe the shares using the words halves, fourths, and quarters, and will be able to use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of. They’ll be able to describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. They will also come to understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares. (Common Core 1.G.3)

Supplies

  • Playdough; one fist-sized lump for each child as well as a demonstration lump for the teacher (see recipe below); your lump should be divided in two and shaped into a flat circle (pizza-style) and a flat rectangle
  • Butter knives/blunt dough knives for each child
  • One sandwich
  • Two apples

Methodology/Procedure

Show your students the two apples. Tell them you want to divide them up between two children; ask how many apples each child will get. When they have answered put away one of the apples. Tell them: Now I only have one apple, but I still need to divide it evenly between two children. How many apples will each child get?

If an answer is not immediately forthcoming, give them a chance to think about and discuss the problem. It should not take them long to come up with ‘dividing the apple into two pieces’ or ‘half’.

Tell them they are right. Ask where you should cut the apple to get halves; you may offer them some choices; perhaps a third to the right, middle, or a third to the left. Lead them to discover that any other slice but right in the middle will lead to unequal parts.

Cut the apple and show them the two parts. Emphasize that two equal parts of the apple are called halves, and that when you put them together you get a whole. Ask them which is bigger, a half or a whole. Ask them if there is any difference between the size of the two parts.

Take the sandwich and ask them: if I have only one sandwich to give to two students, how much sandwich will each student get? Your class should be ready with the answer “half”. Ask how the sandwich should be divided, and allow yourself to be guided to make a cut in the center. Ask how many halves are needed to make a whole.

Now take the sliced apple, holding it as a whole with the two halves together. Tell the students that now you don’t have only two students you need to give this apple to; you need to give even portions to four students. Allow them to discuss how to attack this problem. Allow yourself to be guided to cut the halves in half again, making four quarters. Tell then that these are called quarters, and ask how many are needed to make a whole. Ask which is larger, a half or a quarter. Ask how many quarters make one half.

Now distribute the playdough. Show the class your rectangle, and ask them to shape their playdough into a rectangle like yours. Now tell them they need to divide this rectangle into two halves. Allow them to cut it with their butter knives. If they end up with very unequal halves, encourage them to stick the two halves back together and try again. Cut your own rectangle in half, and demonstrate that if the halves are equal, they will be able to stack neatly on top of each other.

Stick the two halves of the rectangle back together, and tell them that now you don’t want two halves; you want four quarters. Ask them to cut their rectangle in four quarters, and allow them to do this their own way; either two perpendicular cuts or four parallel cuts. Cut your own rectangle with two perpendicular cuts; lay your pieces on top of each other and tell the class you can check your work by seeing the way they stack neatly on top of each other. Ask them to check their own quarters. Ask which is larger, a quarter or a half. Ask them how many quarters make a whole.

Take out your pizza-shaped flat circle, and ask the class to reform their dough into a pizza like yours. Now ask them to divide it into two halves, and check the halves to make sure they are equal.

Stick your two halves back together, and have the class do the same. Tell them that now you want them to divide it into quarters. Let them work it out themselves; if they have trouble, you can demonstrate with two perpendicular cuts on your playdough pizza. If anyone uses parallel cuts, show them how it’s much harder to make sure the parts are equal that way, and encourage them to put the pieces back together and use perpendicular cuts instead.

Ask which is bigger, a half or a quarter, and ask how many quarters will make a whole.

Have your students make the playdough into a simple lump, and then ask them to divide the lump into two equal parts. Tell them these are halves too; ask them how many will make a whole. Ask them to make quarters, and ask how many quarters are needed for a whole.

If you have extra class-time, have your students complete a fractions worksheet, and send them home with their lumps of playdough and your parent handout.

Easy Playdough Recipe for Your Fractions Lesson

For every four students, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • food coloring
  • 2 cups flour

Mix all the ingredients but the flour in a pan over moderate heat,  stirring to dissolve the salt. When it is quite warm, remove from heat and add the flour. Stir it with a spoon, and when it begins to come together, knead it with your hands till you have a non-sticky playdough consistency. Store in a sealed Tupperware container or a ziploc bag.

Common Core Standards

This lesson meets the Common Core Standard 1.G.3; 1st grade geometry item 3.