Lesson 4: Getting There

Grades K–4

words to know

Strand: Managing Data

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Learn what a pictograph is and how it
       is used
  • bullet Conduct a simple census
  • bullet Share the results of students’ censuses
       in their own pictographs

Materials: Getting There Student Worksheet 4, pencil/pen

Time Required: 45 minutes

    Getting Started

  1. Introduce this lesson by explaining to students that the U.S. Census Bureau counts the number of people in each of the districts in the CNMI every 10 years. It then adds up the numbers and presents them in charts or graphs. This helps the Census Bureau share the information with the public.
  2. Explain that, in this lesson, students will practice reading a certain type of graph called a pictograph. They will then gather data and create a pictograph of their own.
  3. To prepare students for reading a pictograph, discuss the different ways they travel with family or friends. List these various methods of transportation. Then take a classroom census by asking each student how he or she usually travels to school. Explain that the census doesn’t just count people but is also a way to ask everybody the same questions.
  4. Using the Student Worksheets

  5. Distribute the Getting There Student Worksheet 4.
  6. Make sure students understand the pictograph. Then have students work by themselves or with a partner to answer the questions. Discuss the results.
  7. Draw students’ attention to the Our Favorite Foods section on the worksheet. Conduct a similar census of the foods students most like to eat. Share the results.
  8. Tell students that in the left-hand column of the pictograph, they will draw symbols to represent the three foods that their classmates like the best. Remind them that the fourth row on the graph should be labeled “Other.” Tell them they will also draw a symbol that stands for two students. They will include this symbol in a pictograph key and on the pictograph.
  9. Guide students as they work individually or with partners to create their own pictographs and pictograph keys.


Discuss why pictographs make it easy to compare different sets of numbers. Talk about why the Census Bureau uses similar charts and graphs to share its findings with the public. Ask: How do you think similar pictographs might be different in other districts? Why?

Teaching Options

Younger or less skilled students can brainstorm examples of charts and graphs they see every day. These might include a “chore chart” at home, a report card, or a bus schedule. Discuss how these charts make it easier to understand information. Another option is to have students use the data that you have collected from the class census on favorite foods to create a chart on a classroom bulletin board. Students can easily visualize their classmates’ preferences. Reinforce the idea that charts and graphs make it easier to understand information about a number of people or items because they help to visualize and organize the data.

Older or more skilled students can create and implement their own census of another class. Ask them to organize the information on a pictograph to share with the class. You may create a bulletin board with the pictographs to display students’ work.


Student Worksheet 4: 1) Two students in Ms. Samai’s class; 2) Most students walk to school; 3) 23

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