I am a first year teacher and am teaching 5th grade. We are working on graphing right now and I want them to get to do a creative, hands-on project that will span sometime. We've done graph making within the classroom, but it gets boring surveying your own class. I had the kids pick from 3 different questions and make a graph with the class as their survey subjects. I would love any ideas you may have. Thanks!

Could they do something with their families? For example, as a class they can graph their favorite subject in school. Then each child can go home & ask their parents/guardians what their favorite subject was in school. Then they could compare the 2 graphs? Maybe they could cut out pictures of kids & adults from old magazines or newspapers to be the "bars" on the graphs? Just to throw in some hands-on. To span time, they could do graphs of the type of food they had for supper/dinner over the course of a week.

We have made large line graphs of the morning temp over two weeks, classroom attendance, and how many students turned in homework over two weeks.

I saw a cool activity at a workshop I did this summer. They did a double bar graph as a group. First everyone predicted how many doors are in their house. (The graph was HUGE and covered part of the wall. They used adding machine tape to do the bars.) Then they (the teachers) went home and counted doors after talking about all the doors they would find (oven, fridge, cabinets, entertainment cd, fuse box, etc). The next day they made a second bar for each person showing how many doors were actually there. It was cool. At a friend of mine's school her grade (4th) did a huge bar graph of first names for the school. They surveyed each classroom, tallied the names and did the graph. It was halfway down the hall. Next week my kids are doing a survey and graph on the colors of vehicles in the parking lot. They are so excited about it. The clipboards are ready and on the back table waiting. (We were supposed to do it today but weather held us back.)

There is a good book The Great Graph Contest by Loreen Leedy that would be perfect for this. The characters have a contest to make the best graph and it is graded on creativity, neatness, and math (answers). You could read the book, put the kids into teams, and have your own graph contest. Let the teams decide what to graph and what kind of graph to make. You could even do a grade level thing and let the kids make some kind of ballot boxes where all of 5th grade responds to different questions. (OK this may be getting larger than you had in mind :lol)

I love the door idea, Christy! I'll be using that one in a couple of weeks when we are working on graphing. I'll also have to look for the book Tasha mentioned--I'm going to try to use picture books and stories in math frequently this year.

Thanks for the great ideas. I will definitely be incorporating these! I love the literature connection. A competition is always a great way to get everyone motivated - something my students need.

What about getting history involved? Graph the ages of family members...I don't necessarily mean the year, but maybe the decade. It would be fun to see where the parents, grandparents & even great grandparents are!! With fall coming if your trees change colors, predict in which week they may change, or if it snows when they think the first snow may be. Could you do something with Halloween coming up?? Graph fav candy...chocolate, hard candy, fruit candy or other.

Last year when my class did mean, median, and mode, we tallied and then graphed the number of times we went up and down the stairs as a class. We did this Monday through Friday and then found the average number of times we went up and down the stairs each day. After graphing the results, we discussed the reasons why certain days the number was higher...maybe we had computer lab and an assembly, maybe we didn't have recess one day. The kids liked it and it were very involved.

You could do for a week who brings or eats lunch at school. Books they are reading...do it in 50pg, 100 pgs or something like that

When I taught graphing in 5th grade I would break the class up into pairs or thirds. I would then give each group a grade that would have to make a question and graph the answer for. The groups would be responsible for writing the question and then would have to present their question to the appropriate class. They loved being able to leave the classroom and being able to go to other classrooms. The other classrooms loved the break. It was a fun, simple and quick project on graphing. I worked in a very small, Catholic, K-8 school. We only had 9 classrooms and all of us teachers were very open about letting students come in the class. I am not sure if it would work for you, but I thought I would just throw it out there.