Pictographs-Beginning Graphing

by Laurie Laurendeau on April 19, 2011

Children generally love hands-on projects. In this week’s lesson, you’ll find several fun activities that will introduce your children to graphing. I’ve included links to two blank graphs that you can print off and use as many times as you’d like. See the links directly below.

Weather Pictograph

Color Pictograph

What Is It?

A graph is a method of organizing data in a visual way.  Pictographs are graphs that use pictures to represent the numbers.  Pictographs are some of the first graphs that your child will encounter in kindergarten and first grade, because they are easier to interpret.  There are many things that you can graph around your house to help your child practice these kindergarten and first grade math concepts. Here are a few suggestions:


Activity #1: Weather Graph

Materials: weather graph (see above), coloring tools

  • Ask your child to look outside at the weather each day.
  • Have her determine whether it is mostly a SUNNY, CLOUDY, RAINY, SNOWY, or WINDY day.
  • Ask her to draw a picture of a sun, cloud, raindrops, snowflakes, or blowing wind in one square in the correct column on the graph.
  • Keep track of the weather for a week or more.

When you have finished, talk about the graph.  Ask her:

1.     Which type of weather was most popular? (The one with the most pictures.)

2.    Which type of weather was the least popular? (The one with the fewest or no pictures.)

3.    How many more days was it sunny than cloudy? (You can compare any two weather types on the graph.)

4.    How many days did we keep track of the weather? (Count all the pictures.)

Activity #2: Favorite Colors

Materials: color graph (see above), coloring tools, scrap paper and pencil

  • Explain to your child that sometimes you have to ask people questions to get information (data) for a graph.  Tell her that today she is going to find out people’s favorite colors.
  • Your child should write on the scrap paper some popular colors:  RED  ORANGE  YELLOW   GREEN   BLUE   PURPLE   PINK
  • Your child will then ask each family member for his/her favorite color, putting a mark under the correct color on the scrap paper to keep track.
  • Encourage your child to phone other family members, neighbors and friends to collect even more data.
  • Ask your child to count up all the marks under each color and write the corresponding number.
  • Now it’s time to create the graph.  Ask your child to color one square (with the appropriate color, of course!) for each person who liked each color.

Talk about the completed graph:

1.     Which color was the most popular?

2.    Which color was the least popular?

3.    Were there any colors that no one chose as their favorite?

4.    How many more people chose ___ than ___?

5.    How many people did you ask altogether?

What To Watch For

  • The “more” concept. When you ask your child to tell you how many more of one thing there is on the graph than another (ex: how many more sunny days than cloudy days), this can be tricky.  Be sure to show them how many MORE sunny squares there are than cloudy ones. Help them to understand this kindergarten math strategy.
  • The “all together” concept. Figuring out how many people were surveyed altogether can also be difficult.  Remind your child that each person could only have one vote or choice, so each picture represents a different person.

Want More?

  • As always, playing math games at home is a great way to reinforce math skills learned in school.
  • Have questions or ideas about this story?
  • Need help or advice about your child’s learning?
  • Have ideas for future Parent Homework Help stories?

Go to “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of this page.  I’d love to help!

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