Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: The Great Graph Contest


The Great Graph Contest written and illustrated by Loreen Leedy is a colorful children’s book that tells the story of a graph contest between two friends.  During the contest a salamander, Beezy, and a frog, Gonk, create different graphs using everday items such as cookies, bathing suits, and rocks while a third friend, Chester the snail, judges.  Each time one friend creates a graph, the other tries harder to make a better one.  Each graph is judged by creativity, correct math, and neatness showing children how everyday observations can be displayed as graphs.  At the end of the book there is a few pages that explain each how each graph was created as well as the type of graph.  The use of vivid pictures and unique items allow the children to see that making graphs can be fun and useful.

Curriculum Connections
This book is designed to work with students on both the introduction of graphs as well creating graphs from observed data.  This book can be introduced as young as Kindergarten to introduce tallying all the way up to 4th grade to explore more difficult graphs such as Venn Diagrams. It would be most appropriate for 1st and 2nd grade SOL’s:

  • 1.14: The student will investigate, identify, and describe various forms of data collection (e.g., recording daily temperature, lunch count, attendance, favorite ice cream), using tables, picture graphs, and object graphs.
  • 2.17: The student will use data from experiments to construct picture graphs, pictographs, and bar graphs.
  • 2.19: The student will analyze data displayed in picture graphs, pictographs, and bar graphs.

Additional Resources

  • Kids AOL Homework Help  provides a few activities to help children understand how to use and read graphs.  It provides an audio lesson plan that explains how a student can use graphs to show how she is both like and unlike her classmates, as well as quiz that tests childrens ability to read graphs.
  • Scholastic  provides a lesson plan that can be used to introduce graphs to kindergarten students that can be altered to work with older students as needed.
  • 1st Grade Templates provides templates for excel worksheets that students can use to experiment with graphs andcan also be used as whole class activities to create graphs from observed data.

Book: The Great Graph Contest
Loreen Leedy
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date:
September 2005
Pages: 32 pages
Grade Range: K-4
ISBN-13: 978-0823417100

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