Monday, July 12, 2010

Making a Bar Graph with Post-It Notes

Purpose: To help students create and interpret a simple bar graph

Preparation Time: none

Materials: white board or flip chart, markers, post-it notes, pens or pencils

Preparation: Choose a question related to the unit or theme you are working on. This will be the basis of a survey that the students will conduct in class.

For a housing unit, the question might be:
Do you live in an apartment, duplex, townhouse, mobile home, or house?

For a transportation unit, ask:
Do you come to school by bus, by car, by bike, on foot, or by train?


I do it:

1) Write columns across the top of the whiteboard. For example, make 5 columns, one each for apartment, duplex, townhouse, mobile home, and house.

2) Model the activity by asking 2-3 students the question regarding housing. As each student answers, write the response on a post-it note and place it in the correct column.

We do it:

1) Ask a student to take your place and ask the question of several more students.

2) Ask another student to write the responses on post-it notes.

3) Ask the group in which column you should place the post-it note.

You do it:

1) Ask the students to find a partner, preferably someone who speaks a different first language.

2) Students take turns asking each other the question and recording the partner’s response on a post-it.

3) Each pair then goes to the whiteboard and places the post-its in the correct columns.

Note: The teacher/tutor may need to assist learners to make sure columns are clearly separated, so that the final result looks like a bar graph.


1) Ask questions about the bar graph to practice “reading” the information. How many people live in apartments? Do more people live in apartments or houses?

2) Ask students to write sentences about the information on the bar graph.

3) Practice summarizing the information on the graph. For example: Four people live in houses, one lives in a townhouse, and six live in apartments.

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