Created on: August 17, 2008

Website Address: https://library.curriki.org/oer/Inquiry-Eight-Using-Graphs-Words-and-Pictures-to-Describe-Functions

Demonstrate relationships between objects or events and the variables, factors, functions or patterns that describe them.

Objectives

- Represent data in an organized, graphic way in order to see patterns between variables and factors
- Use graphs, words, mathematic symbols and/or pictures to describe relationships between observed phenomena
- Gain experience using spreadsheet software to input data and generate a graph or graphs

- Student
*Observation and Reflection Journals*with data from InquiriesTwo and Three - Computer(s) with Microsoft Excel or Open Office spreadsheet software

(Depends upon number of computers available and how many projects each student decides to graph). At the end of the week, the class meets as an entire group to discuss the findings and give one another feedback.

**Activities**

During class discussion, students
create criteria for “what makes an informative graph.” The
criteria will be used to assess student work. An example of a
criterion: “A graph must produce a straight or curved line to show
a patterns or function.” Another example might be: “A written
explanation must help describe the graph,” or for students who are
up to a challenge: “Mathematic notation of variables must work with
any number.”

Students enter data they collected from
one or two experiments they conducted in Inquiry Two (or data from Inquiry Three) into Microsoft
Excel, Open Office Calc, or another spreadsheet program, while referring to their
*Observation and Reflection Journals*. Each person generates one
or two graphs, a written explanation in English, other pictures if
they wish, and a mathematical/symbolic description as well.

**Closure**

Each student posts his or her graphs on
the bulletin board. Students take a “Gallery Walk” in a line to
look at other people’s data and graphs.
Here are some samples of student work:

Student Work Sample 4 (before graphed on computer)

**Discuss**

What did you notice in looking at your
colleagues’ graphs and explanations?

Why do some lines on graphs curve while
others are straight?

**Assessment**

Students gain feedback from one another
during and after the Gallery Walk. Teacher uses criteria generated by
students when giving evaluation and feedback.

**Extensions**

An optional culminating activity would
be to challenge students to find objects or events in the world
they’ve actually seen, experienced, or heard about in the media.
Examples include:

- The best size of a tire for a race car
- The most absorbent paper towel
- The longest burning candle
- The best recipe for lemonade
- The best fabric for a raincoat

Students draw their findings on graph paper instead of using software.