Math Access for Teachers and Home Child Care Providers

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Children will graph the number of various vehicles they scoop out of a bucket and then analyze their collected data.

Content Area Standard Target
• Data Analysis and Probability
• Algebra
• Understand patterns, relations, and functions
• Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize and display relevant data to answer them
• Select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data
• Sort, classify, and order objects by size, number, and other properties
• Sort and classify objects according to their attributes and organize data about the objects
• Represent data using concrete objects, pictures, and graphs
• Describe parts of the data and the set of data as a whole to determine what the data show
Obtain the Materials

• A bucket of vehicle counters
• A shovel or scoop that fits into the bucket of vehicles
• Large, one inch by one inch graph paper already labeled.  Types of Transportation can be written along the Y-axis along with numbers next to each of the boxes.  Do not go higher than 10 to begin with. The various types of vehicles (car, school bus, boat, train, fire truck and plane) should be spaced out along the x-axis.  Instead of just using the word for each of the vehicles, have a picture of the vehicle accompanying the vehicle.  Prepare the bar graph ahead of time so that all that the children need to do is collect and analyze their data.

Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

Introduce the Activity

1. Introduce the concept of a bar graph.  Explain that a bar graph is a way in which mathematicians collect and information and then study and compare that information.
2. Explain that today we are all going to use bar graphs to record how many vehicles we scoop out of the bucket.  “We want to see what vehicles we collect when we use the scoop to collect vehicles from the bucket.”  “We want to see how many of each vehicle you collect and who scoops the most of one particular vehicle and who collects the least of one particular vehicle.  The way in which will be able to determine this is by recording our collections on our bar graphs and then comparing our bar graphs with our friends.”

Engage the Children

1. Using a bar graph, model the collecting and recording of the vehicles.  Scoop a quantity of vehicles out of the bucket and place them in a working space next to your bar graph.  Start by sorting all the like vehicles into groups.”I think that I will make this a little easier by first, sorting all the same vehicles into piles.  That way, it will ne easier for me to count each group and then record how many in each group.
2. Invite the children to make statements about what they see.  Ask: “How many trains do I have in my pile?”  (4)   “That’s right.  In order to record the 4 trains onto my graph, I must first find the train on my graph and then count up four boxes about the train to symbolize that I have four trains.”  Place Xs in each of the box.  “I have marked off 4 boxes that represent 4 trains.  Over on this side of the graph, there is the number 4 to help me.”
3. Continue graphing the remainder of your vehicles.  Once finished, ask children what they notice.  Ask: “What vehicle do I have the most of?”,  “What vehicle did I have the least amount of?”  “Did I have the same amount of any vehicles?”
4. Give each child their own bar graph and scoop of vehicles and have the begin graphing their findings.  When they are all done, you might want to give the separate sheet that has the statements –
• I had the most amount of ___________________________
• I had the least amount of ___________________________
• I had the same amount of ___________________________
5. Once they are done analyzing their own data, bring the children back into a group and analyze the findings as a whole group.  What were the similarities in the data collected? Any differences?

• Have the children create and label their own bar graph.  Give them the graph paper and pose the question, “Using the squares on this paper, how are going to record the number of each vehicles you scoop out of the bucket?”
• Have the children work in partnerships and have them create a double bar graph.  Create the same bar graph but allow enough space on the x-axis to allow for the findings of each of the children.  Have one child record their findings in blue and the other child record their findings in a different color.  Once there are done recording their data, allow them to compare their findings. Ask: “Who had the most of a vehicle?”  “Who had the least?”  Introduce the idea of a key to them and have them label which color represents which child at the bottom of their graph.

Encourage Vocabulary

• Bar Graph – Uses bars to show quantities or numbers so they can be easily compared (e.g., "Today we are all going to use bar graphs to record how many vehicles we scoop out of the bucket.")
• Most – Having the greatest quantity or number (e.g., What vehicle do I have the most of?")
• Least – Having the smallest quantity or number (e.g., "What vehicle do you have the least amount of?")
• Same – Identical in kind or quantity (e.g., Did I have the same amount of any vehicles?")

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

• Sort but have trouble with one-to-one correspondence.
• Have difficulty lining up the number of a sorted group onto the provided bar graph.

Pre-K Children may:

• Be beginning to understand how to read and interpret a simple bar graph.

Home child care providers may:

• Help the child count each of the piles of vehicles once they are sorted.
• Simplify the bar graph by eliminating the graph paper and use plain paper with pictures of each of the 6 vehicles on the bottom of the page.

Home child care providers may:

• Have the children create and label their own bar graph.  Give them the graph paper and pose the question, “Using the squares on this paper, how are going to record the number of each vehicles you scoop out of the bucket?”
• Have the children work in partnerships and have them create a double bar graph.  Create the same bar graph but allow enough space on the x-axis to allow for the findings of each of the children.  Have one child record his findings in blue and the other child record her findings in a different color.  Once they're done recording their data, allow them to compare their findings. “Who had the most of a vehicle?”  “Who had the least?”  Introduce the idea of a key to them and have them label which color represents which child at the bottom of their graph.

Books

• The Greatest Graph Contest by Loreen Leedy (New York: Holiday House, 2006)
• Tiger Math: Learning to Graph from a Baby Tiger by Ann Whitehead Nagda (New York: Square Fish, 2002)
• Lemonade for Sale (MathStart 3) by Stuart J. Murphy (New York: Harpercollins, 1997)

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

Web Resources

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