Help children look at one another with "new eyes" through graphing at group time

This month, use group time to focus on using graphs and surveys as a means to help children, learn more about each other. Now that spring is here, children have spent the greater part of a school year together and have gotten to know a great deal about one another along the way. But there is always more to learn and new ways to learn it! Not only will children be using social skills as they work with graphs and surveys, but they'll also use language, math, and science skills needed to create these symbolic representations of information!

Photo Graphing Cubes

Have children glue their photos on empty, washed, school-sized milk cartons to create instant graphing tools. Each child can paste a photo on one end, cover it with adhesive clear vinyl, and tape the end closed. These cubes can become part of your meeting time area, to be used whenever you want to enjoy graphing with children. You can start by graphing the number of boys and girls. Pass out the picture cubes to their owners. Ask children to stack their cube in either the girl or the boy tower. "Are there more boys than girls? Which tower has the most cubes?" Repeat this activity frequently using a variety of attributes to graph. Children can graph each other by hair color or length, eye color, or even the color clothes they are wearing! Children can also use their graphing cube to "vote" for choices in the classroom.

Take A Color Survey

Before group time, give each child a "survey sheet" on a piece of colored paper. (Use a wide variety of paper colors, including black, white, and brown.) Tell children that their job will be to go around the room looking for objects that are the same color as their paper. Show children how they can make tally marks on the chart paper when they find something. At group time, have children share their sheets and compare their surveys with others. Show children how to count the tally marks by fives. Expand the activity at group time by taking a "Favorite Color Survey." Ask children to "vote" by placing a colored piece of paper in the column of their favorite color.

Ice Cream Graph

Here is a fun "personal preference" graph to make at group time. Use colored circles to represent ice cream flavors and triangles for cones. Place a row of cones at the bottom of the chart paper-each one representing a different ice cream flavor (you can use brown triangles for cones ready to accommodate chocolate ice cream, pink cones for strawberry ice cream, green cones for pistachio ice cream, and so on.) Children will choose a color circle that represents their favorite flavor ice cream and vote for it by placing it on the appropriate cone on the chart. By the end there will be a pile of scoops on each cone. Children can count to see which flavor was voted for the most!

"What Our Bodies Can Do" Graph

Use pictures to show actions like finger snapping, hopping on one foot, and jumping with two feet along the bottom of the chart. List children's names vertically along the left side of the graph. Invite children to predict how many times they can hop or snap, and then test it out! Use tally marks to record their predictions in one column and the number of times they can actually hop, skip, or jump in the other.