What to do with all of that candy that is about to infiltrate your gluten-free, sugar-free, locavore pantry? Why make a bar graph of course! I have posted about this before, but bar graphs are a great way to make a meaningful connection between math (data management and interpretation) and every day life.
Start by dumping all of the candy into a pile. This is fun for the obvious reason: seeing a mountain of candy! But ask your kids if just by glancing they can see any natural groups. Once they’ve determined the grouping, start the sorting. Sorting is a great activity for the littlest ones and possibly the older, more experienced ones can oversee and make corrections when necessary.
Ask lots of questions during this part of the activity. Do you think we have enough to make a group? Why or why not? What are some other ways we can sort the candy? Could we sort by chocolate, candy and chips?
Once the candy has been sorted, write the title of each group (for example: gum, suckers, Rockets, etc.) on a sticky note.
Then the children count each pile. This is where you can encourage skip-counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s. After the tally, record the number on the corresponding sticky note.
Now it’s time to create the graph. Ask your child to recall the components of a graph: title, X and Y axis labels, data labels, and scale. Listen to their reasoning for choosing the scale. When working on this graph my boys engaged in a discussion about the best way to capture the data because the smallest group was the Play-Doh with 2 and the largest group was the Chocolate Bars with 125. That’s quite a range!
Get out the ruler, the pencil and the colour pencils to finish the graph.
Now here’s a problem: What do we do once we start eating the candy?