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The One-Computer Classroom

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How Tall Are We?

The following activity was designed for the classroom where there is only one computer connected to a projection system. This lesson can be used in grades K-8.

California Mathematics Strand: Statistics, Data, Probability

Lesson Objectives:

Data collection and display.
Materials required:


Students will work in pairs to measure their height and enter the data on the spreadsheet. The teacher will create the graph on the computer as the students model the graph by standing in a row. Displaying the graph in these two ways will allow the students to make connections between their physical height and the heights of the bars on the graph.
Plan Ahead:

Before the class tape the two yardsticks end-to-end vertically to the wall, one above the other. Set up the computer and data display and open a new spreadsheet in ClarisWorks. In cell A1 enter the words "Student Name" and in Cell B2 enter the word "Height."

Class Begins:

Working in pairs, students go to the yardsticks and measure their heights. A student or aide could monitor the students as they take their readings. Students then enter their names in the "A" column and their heights in the "B" column of the spreadsheet.

To make a graph, teachers should complete the following steps and display the results for the students to see:

  1. Select all of your entries in Columns A and B.
  2. Go to the Options menu, and select Make Chart. A window will appear with the different types of graphs.
  3. Select Bar and consider the different options at the bottom of the window.

    Try the different options and see which ones enhance your graph. Remember that you are displaying data to present information! Your graph should be clear.

  4. Go to Labels and type in "Height Chart for My Class" for your Title.

  5. Go to Axes and notice that y-axis is selected. Type "Heights" for the y-axis.

  6. Select x-axis and type "Students" for the x-axis.

  7. You are ready to make your graph. Select OK.

  8. To arrange the bars in order from smallest to largest, select all the entries in columns A and B. From the Calculate menu choose SORT. Sort the data in order from smallest to largest beginning in cell "B2".

To finish the activity, have students line up as their names appear on the ordered graph. If they have taken their measurements accurately, your line of students will match the graph. You might take a picture of the students and display it with the graph.

Related Links
See Suzanne Alejandre's Spreadsheet Lessons for more information on creating graphs and charts.
Students could first enter their estimated height on the spreadsheet, then measure their height and enter both into the computer. The graph would then include two bars for each student.

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