Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Common Core Math - Line Plots

CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.B.4 Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units— whole numbers, halves, or quarters.

Well....that's pretty specific! Here's how I attacked this Common Core line plot standard with my third graders last week:

If you read my post about Bucket Filling, you may remember that I have a large collection of ribbons that students can tie onto their buckets when they've filled them up. I told my students that I needed their help taking inventory of our ribbon supply and displaying that data on a line plot. 

We started off by drawing a long, horizontal line on our papers. We then marked off 1 1/2 inch intervals (this step was more of an adventure than I'd planned on after 2 weeks of measurement work, but that's neither here nor there). We marked the resulting horizontal scale in quarter inches, starting at 6 inches (the shortest ribbon length). We labeled our scale (Length in Inches) and titled our line plots (Ribbon Lengths). 

Next, I "sprinkled" ribbons throughout the room. To make it easier for students to keep track of the ribbons they had and had not measured, I numbered each ribbon with a Sharpie. It's funny how different each class is year-to-year. This year, my kiddos are all about the "sprinkling". If I find a way to "sprinkle" the work throughout the room, they are complete rockstars. Whatever works, right?!

Students moved around the room, measuring the ribbons and marking them on their line plots with an "x" above the appropriate length. Here are some of my students at work:

Here's my own messy copy to give you an idea of what the finished line plot looked like:

When they were done creating their line plots, they made observations about the data in their math notebooks. Then I asked them to generate questions about their data. Some examples of what they came up with:

-How many more ribbons are 7 1/4 inches long than 6 1/4 inches long?
-How many ribbons are longer than 7 inches?
-How many ribbons are 6 1/2 inches or shorter?
-What is the most common ribbon length?

The specificity of the standard definitely was a big help in designing this lesson. It was a fun and engaging way for students to practice measuring with a ruler and creating a line plot in a more meaningful way.

If you want more measurement resources, here are two products available in my TpT store:

Click here to see my measurement riddles - a fun way to practice measuring to the nearest 1/4 inch.

Click here to see my 3rd Grade Common Core Math Assessments for Measurement and Data (includes more line plots). 

Do you have any good ideas for teaching line plots?

Keep Calm and Teach On!

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