|Grade span:||2 to 5|
|Duration:||One or two 45-minute sessions|
|Series:||Part 1 in the series Graphs.|
Description:This sample lesson is one example of how you can implement the practice of Tutoring to Enhance Science Skills. It is designed to give students practice interpreting data tables and bar graphs, important skills in science that many elementary students find challenging. In this lesson, students look at data tables and bar graphs showing patterns among different birds at birdfeeders. It can be done in one-on-one or small-group sessions.
Note:This is the first lesson in a series.
- Understand and interpret data from tables and bar graphs
- Identify parts of a graph and data table including title, independent variable, dependent variable, scale, and x and y ordered pairs
- Work cooperatively with a tutor
- Interpreting Data from Birdfeeders (PDF)
- Pencils and paper
- Materials as needed for building birdfeeders if lesson is extended
- Collect informational books on birds.
- Review the lesson, printouts, and Tips for Tutoring Students in Science (PDF, 60KB).
None in this lesson; precaution should be taken with tools if making birdfeeders.
What to Do:
- Engage students in the lesson by reading a book together on birds and talking about the different kinds of birds in your area. Ask questions such as: What do birds need to survive? Do you think all birds eat the same thing? How might you find out what different birds eat?
- Explore the data about birdfeeding habits in the data tables and the bar graph that illustrates patterns at birdfeeders. Use the guiding questions to help students make sense of the data tables and bar graph. For example, students should be able to identify what kinds of birdfeed different birds prefer, what the most/least popular kind of birdfeed is, and other patterns.
- Explain the data. Students should be able to interpret the data based on their answers to the questions.
- Help students understand that an independent variable is something that the person doing the experiment can control or vary—in this case the birdfeed. Likewise, help students understand that a dependent variable is something that the experimentor doesn't control or something that depends on the way the experiment is done—in this case the number of birds that eat each kind of birdfeed.
- Discuss the patterns that students noticed, questions they can use to help them interpret data tables and bar graphs, and what they learned from this activity.
- Extend learning if time allows by building birdfeeders or conducting a bird field study. Design an investigation to identify and count the number of birds in your area. Then display the data in data tables and in a bar graph.
Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):
- Student participation and engagement
- Questions and answers that reflect an understanding of the data
- Answers that reflect an understanding of how data can be represented in tables and bar graphs
- An understanding of independent and dependent variables, and how they are represented on x and y axes
Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.
Learn more about the 5Es.