edited by
Robert Panoff
published by
the Shodor Foundation
supported by
the National Science Foundation

This simulation-based lesson for grades 5-9 provides hands-on practice in exploring bar graphs using authentic information. It features an interactive Java graphing applet to create and read bar graphs. Students can work within parameters provided in the applet or input their own data sets. This resource includes a complete lesson plan, teaching tips, and alignment to NCTM standards.

Editor's Note: Of particular note is the support provided by the author for students to generate their own data. The approach is a highly engaging way to introduce students to computer spreadsheet inputs, which will lay a foundation for future study in quantitative analysis.

This resource is part of CSERD (Computational Science Education Reference Desk), a portal of the National Science Digital Library. The Interactivate collection contains more than 200 standards-based activities, many of which have been classroom tested.

Please note that this resource requires
Java Applet Plug-in.

6-8: 9B/M3. Graphs can show a variety of possible relationships between two variables. As one variable increases uniformly, the other may do one of the following: increase or decrease steadily, increase or decrease faster and faster, get closer and closer to some limiting value, reach some intermediate maximum or minimum, alternately increase and decrease, increase or decrease in steps, or do something different from any of these.

9-12: 9B/H4. Tables, graphs, and symbols are alternative ways of representing data and relationships that can be translated from one to another.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models

6-8: 11B/M2. Mathematical models can be displayed on a computer and then modified to see what happens.

12. Habits of Mind

12B. Computation and Estimation

3-5: 12B/E9. Use appropriate units when describing quantities.

6-8: 12B/M6. Insert instructions into computer spreadsheet cells to program arithmetic calculations.

CSERD Interactivate: Bar Graph Lesson, edited by R. Panoff (Shodor Foundation, Durham, 2009), <http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/lessons/BarGraphLesson/>.

Panoff, R. (Ed.). (2009). CSERD Interactivate: Bar Graph Lesson. Retrieved April 17, 2014, from Shodor Foundation: http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/lessons/BarGraphLesson/

%0 Electronic Source %D 2009 %T CSERD Interactivate: Bar Graph Lesson %E Panoff, Robert %I Shodor Foundation %V 2014 %N 17 April 2014 %9 application/java %U http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/lessons/BarGraphLesson/

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A similar simulation for exploring mean, median, and mode by interactively constructing a bar graph on an axis with a given range. The three central values are automatically generated each time a block is "plopped" into a column on the graph.