Reading Bar Graphs 

Purpose: To engage students in reading a bar graph using authentic NASA data. Students will identify major parts of bar graphs and make a generalization statement based on graphed data. 

Grade Level: 2 – 5  
Estimated Time for Completing Activity: One 30 minute class period (Higher level option may take two30 minute class periods)  
Learning Outcomes:


Prerequisite  
Vocabulary:  
Lesson Links:  
Background:
Bar graphs are simple ways to display data. Taking numbers and creating a bar graph makes it easier to read and draw conclusions. From bar graphs, you can easily compare data from more than one source. 

Procedure:
PreLesson Prep: Students will need access to the bar graphs and questions. Higher level option: You may also choose to use the blank graphs and numerical data if you want students to practice graphing data. In this case, pass out blank graph and number value chart and have students graph prior to proceeding to step one. You may want students to work in pairs so that they each graph one set, rather than each student graphing both data sets. 1. Hand out bar graphs. Explain that you will be tracking changes in temperature over one year (2007) in Africa. 8. Ask students: Which place do you think, has a lot of different types of weather? 9. Have students share their ideas with a partner then write I or C on a post it to show which one they chose. Divide the board into two sections, Inland and Coast. Have students walk up and place their post it in the correct space to vote. 10. Bring class together to discuss their choices. Introduce the word trend(s) as you revisit the graphs. If students have difficulty making their decision or seeing why the inland has a wider variety of weather, have them circle the tops of all of the bars on both graphs and look at the differences. 11. Have the class agree on a generalization statement about the graphed data. 

Questions:
(embedded in lesson) 

Extensions:
Display double bar graph data. Guide discussion about changes in temperature according to seasons. When is inland temperature higher than coastal? When is coastal temperature higher than inland? When are they about the same? What might this indicate about the season? Provide numerical data from your area and blank graphs for students to complete. 

Lesson plan contributed by Becky Schnekser, MY NASA DATA Team 

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