Third Grade Math: Collecting Data and Graphing

Ever been in a rush but nonetheless wanted/needed to catch up on the news? What did you do? Skim the highlights section above the articles of course! And would you prefer to read through 20 pages of facts or glance at one graph that contains all of the facts?

Being able to gather, organize, read and interpret data in a variety of graphs is an important skill elementary students must acquire. Below are great books, websites and additional resources for developing and enhancing this skill.

Five Great Books on Graphing are:

1) Learning to Graph From a Baby Tiger
Written by:  Ann Whitehead Nagda and Cindy Bickel


This book follows an orphaned Siberian Tiger cub being raised in the Denver Zoo. There are color photos of the Tiger showing his changing moods and development sure to grab students' attention. The book illustrates and explains pie, line, picture and bar graphs. It allows students to utilize graphs for "everyday life" situations. Students will also learn when the use of each type of graph is appropriate.

2) Lemonade for Sale                                                                                                                                      
Written by: Stuart J. Murphy; Illustrated by: Tricia Tusa

Most every student will be able to relate to this book. It is about children keeping track of their lemonade sales using bar graphs. It is a creative story with funny illustrations. It not only involves graphing but also counting money and marketing. This book also allows students to apply their math skills to real life problems.    

3) Graphs                                                                                                                                                                                                    Written Written by: Bonnie Bader; Illustrated by: Mernie Gallagher Cole

This story is about a boy who tries to get out of going to a family reunion by saying he has math homework. Lucky for him, his mother suggests he take his homework with him! While at the reunion he collects data from various family members. By the end of the day he's finished his graphing homework. This book clearly demonstrates the information-gathering process as well as graph-making methods.

4) Graphing Activities                                                                                                                                                                              Written by: Joy Evans and Jo Ellen Moore


This activity book is a great resource for teachers.  It includes easy-to-follow instructions and reproducible patterns, blank graphs and questions. It's important for students to practice making graphs on top of interpreting and answering questions from pre-made graphs.

5) Great Graphs, Charts and Tables that Build Real-Life Math Skills                                           
Written by: Kiernan


This activity book gives students the extra practice they need interpreting and reading graphs. It uses real-world data and skill-building questions. It also includes great extension ideas. This book is great for getting students ready for standardized tests.  

Five Handy Websites on Graphing are:

1) Kids' Zone allows students to create graphs. Students can choose the type of graph and whether it's horizontal or vertical. They can label the x and y axis, title the graph and adjust values. Students can save and print their graphs.

2) Mental Math Grapher allows students to create graphs. This site is more simplistic. Students can label the x axis and title. They can adjust values and print their finished graph.

3) PBS Kids Go! Cyberchase  has games, lessons, activities and t.v. shows. The Raising the Bar section has an episode that explains why the scale of a graph affects how the graph is interpreted. It also has a graphing game and material that can be printed.

4) Aunty Math has math challenges for grades K-5. There are a variety of subjects including data collection and graphing.

5) Figure This! is a math challenge websites for families. It has a few problems regarding collecting data and graphs. It also has many more challenges in different areas of math.

Additional Helpful Resources:

  • Math Glossary provides students with definitions of important math terms. Some definitions are even interactive for better understanding.
  • Elementary School Math Resources by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is a comprehensive site for teachers and parents. There are activities, lesson ideas, teaching strategies, articles and much more.
  • Hotchalk Lesson Plans Page provides teachers with free lesson plans, worksheets, discussion boards and a newsletter.
  • O'Block Books is a "one stop shop" for early childhood teaching supplies and materials.
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