Delicious Graphing


Lesson Author: Melanie Braswell

Subject: Math

Grade Level: 4

Overview: Food is an excellent manipulative for math. In this lesson, students will be using a trail mix to sort by type and use that information to create different types of graphs for comparing. At the end of the lesson, students will enjoy a snack.

State/National Standards: See below for North Carolina Curriculum Alignment.

Learning Objectives:

After completing this lesson, students will be able to:

  • classify objects by type

  • use information to create tally charts, bar graphs, circle graphs, and pictographs

  • discuss advantages and disadvantages of constructing and reading each type of graph


  • 1 small cup of trail mix (marshmallows, nuts, raisins, M&M's) for each student (note food allergies ahead of time)

  • 1 12 x 17 sheet of white construction paper for each student

  • crayons, markers, or colored pencils



Review the different types of graphs that have been studied previously. Use a sample of the trail mix to show children how to tally information and construct each graph.


  1. Give each student a cup of trail mix, one sheet of white construction paper, and drawing materials.

  2. Have students count the entire mix and then sort the mix by type. Using the sorting information, students can now complete a tally chart in the upper corner of their construction paper.

  3. Have children use their tally charts to construct a bar graph, a pictograph, and a circle graph that display the same data.

  4. Have students share their finished graphs and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of certain graphs.

Assessment: The teacher should monitor students to make sure graphs are being constructed accurately. The students should also be able to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type of graph.

Teacher Comments: This lesson is a final review of graphing. It shows what the students have retained from previous graphing lessons while letting the children have fun with food.

Since this lesson reviews most areas of graphing, it is a wonderful alternative to tests.

North Carolina Curriculum Alignment:

Grade 4 Goal 4: Data, Probability, and Statistics - The learner will demonstrate an understanding and use of graphing, probability, and data analysis.

  • Objective 2: Display data in a variety of ways including circle graphs Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each form including ease of creation and purpose of the graph.

  • Objective 3: Collect, organize, and display data from surveys, research, and classroom experiments, including data collected over time Include data from other disciplines such as science, physical education, social studies, and the media.

  • Objective 4: Interpret information orally and in writing from charts, tables, tallies, and graphs
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©2004 Melanie Braswell
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