Last year at the end of our graphing unit, I posted graphs from the news (so they were current and relevant information) around the room- a line graph, a bar graph, a circle graph, etc. Instead of asking students questions about the graphs I put them in small groups, each positioned in front of one of the graphs. The group was to write down everything they could read from the graph. Then groups rotated. They had time to read what the previous group wrote and then push themselves to add more (The easy stuff goes quick - The title is... the x-axis label is... then students have to think deeper to compare quantities or make summary statements).
This year I decided I spend too much time telling my kids what they need to know and not enough time letting them tell me what they know. So as an introduction to graphing I adapted last years activity using chromebooks :)
I had students log in with their google accounts and go here: http://tinyurl.com/stephensgraphing
Students had several minutes to study the graph, post a comment, and read the comments of others. I told them if they repeated comments I would call them out and they would have to change their comment or add an original thought. The kids helped with this- they would shout out so-and-so and so-and-so wrote the same thing!!! :) Then I had students cilck on the graph to block out the comments and focus only on the image itself and we discussed each graph as a class.
I was SO impressed with my students. They were engaged and challenged and creative in their answers. They really enjoyed the activity and had no idea how hard they were thinking :) We got into conversations about reliable sources, accuracy of data, comparisons between graphs... completely exceeded my expectations.
The last thing we did was use http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/default.aspx to recreate graphs from a survey we took the previous day. Students learned to screenshot on a chromebook, save the image, and share it with me through google drive or gmail.
Students then completed a ticket to leave called 3-2-1 in which they had to write down:
3- things they learned
2- questions they have about the lesson or graphing
1- thing they want to know more about
And the exciting part- They filled the slip of paper I gave them. They wrote in complete sentences (for the most part). I constantly fight a battle when I ask them to write in the math classroom...but no one moaned or groaned when I described the 3-2-1 ticket to them.... they all put heads down and started writing. It was awesome! :)