K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

The students will collect data, organize data and create graphs using computer technology. They will then be able to read and interpret the graphs and describe the information contained in the graph.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

1 hour


pencil and paper

Technology resources

  • spread sheet and graphing software
  • computers - if possible one per student


Word Study - Introduce “data” as a vocabulary word

  • Have students make connections between this word and other words that they know based on phonemic and clues. Have students predict possible meanings.
  • If students do not come up with a meaning close to the correct meaning you may choose to have one child look up the word or you may choose to tell them the correct meaning.
  • Demonstrate and explain the procedure for data collection. Students need to understand making tally marks and what each tally mark stands for.
  • Provide students with a list of computer terms (tool bar, spread sheet, icon, etc.) With a projected image if possible demonstrate these items for students.


  1. Have students brainstorm some things that they could collect data for (ex: favorite food, favorite sports, favorite TV show, etc.).
  2. Choose a preset amount of items within a category that the students will collect data on, i.e. 5-10 possible favorite foods, like pizza, tacos, etc. (You may want to give students a small blank spread sheet style paper to use for their raw data collection. Regular notebook paper may also be used). Each student may collect data on their own choice of category and items.
  3. Allow students several minutes to move quietly around the room collecting their data.
  4. Teach students the procedure for opening an Excel spread sheet (demonstrate with projected image if possible). Instruct students to type the categories for the collected data in column A with one title in each box or cell (demonstrate with projected image if possible). Monitor student’s progress.
  5. Briefly discuss counting the tally marks and entering the actual numbers under column B on the spread sheet. Demonstrate and monitor progress.
  6. Explain and demonstrate the procedure for highlighting data. Carefully monitor progress.
  7. Direct student’s attention to the tool bar and have them click on the icon for charts. Monitor progress. Direct students to click on a pre-selected chart type. Describe and demonstrate clicking on the “next” button. Click twice from this point.
  8. Guide the students through naming their chart and giving names to the X and Y axis. Stress the importance of adding titles to these areas.
  9. Teach students about the print icon and instruct them to click on the print icon. After each child’s chart has printed they can be used for subsequent lessons about reading and interpreting charts and graphs.


  • Assessment can be on going as the teacher monitors the students work on the computers.
  • Printed copies of charts can be graded individually or as part of a larger project.
  • The students can create a second graph on their own for assessment purposes.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 3

        • Measurement & Data
          • 3.MD.3Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For example, draw a bar...

    • North Carolina Essential Standards
      • Information and Technology Skills (2010)
        • 3.TT.1 Use technology tools and skills to reinforce classroom concepts and activities. 3.TT.1.1 Use a variety of technology tools to gather data and information (e.g., Web-based resources, e-books, online communication tools, etc.). 3.TT.1.2 Use a variety...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Computer Technology Skills (2005)

Grade 3

  • Goal 2: The learner will demonstrate knowledge and skills in the use of computer and other technologies.
    • Objective 2.01: Select and use appropriate features and functions of hardware and software for class assignments. Strand - Societal/Ethical Issues
  • Goal 3: The learner will use a variety of technologies to access, analyze, interpret, synthesize, apply, and communicate information.
    • Objective 3.02: Enter/edit data in a prepared spreadsheet to perform calculations and determine which graph best represents the data as a class/group. Strand - Spreadsheet

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 3

  • Goal 4: Data Analysis and Probability - The learner will understand and use data and simple probability concepts.
    • Objective 4.01: Collect, organize, analyze, and display data (including circle graphs and tables) to solve problems.