How Many Letters Are In Your Name?
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Unit Plan:
- Collect data
- Describe and compare the pieces of data that result in each category
- Develop and use math vocabulary to compare the data
- Develop the skills to analyze the pieces of data
- Tag Board & Ruler
- Paper Strips (2-3")
- Multilink cubes
- Round white labels
Set Up and Prepare
- Prepare a graph surface on the tag board. Use the longer side of the tag board as the bottom so that you can fit up to ten vertical columns along the page. Draw vertical and horizontal columns on the page.
- Label the base of the graph as follows: 1 letter, 2 letters, 3 letters, four letters, 5 letters, etc... The columns need to be wide enough to accommodate the paper strips that will have the children's names on them.
- Prepare removable round labels (3/4" diameter) with the individual letters of each child's name on them.
- Variation: If you are using a Smartboard, double check that everything is locked on the screen before the children come up to write their initials or names on the graph.
- Read the children a name story
- Tell them we are going to study the number of letters in our names.
- Ask the children to get a multilink for each letter in their name.
- Have them count their cubes and tell them that the number of cubes represents the number of letters in their name.
- Have them walk around the room to see if they can find a friend with the same number.
- Before they sit down ask the children to grab the paper strip with their name on it.
- Tell them that we are going to put the information on a graph so that we can read and analyze the data.
- Call the children up to the graph by the number of letters in their names.
- Read and analyze the graph with the children.
- Save the name sticks for another activity.
- Tally marks are used to count up by fives. Four vertical marks are used before a diagonal mark is used to cover the four vertical marks. The resulting configuration represents five. You can teach the children this system and tally the results of each column.
- Children can graph the number of letters in their last names or the syllables.
- Invite another class who has done the same activity to come and create an even bigger graph with your class...all the more names to recognize and analyze.
Use this lesson as an opportunity to engage your students in conversation about their mathematical ideas and challenge their understanding of the relevant mathematical graph vocabulary. Observe their reasoning and their mathematical thinking. Ask them why they think what they do and you will be able to assess their growth and understanding of graphs.