A graph is a visual display of quantitative information. Graphing is used in math, statistics, physics, economics, business, and so on. Even news editors and journalists use graphs illustrate their stories.
Introducing children to graphing early on can lead to a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts as they grow in school. Concepts like organizing, counting, comparing, and analyzing are the bedrock of good math skills.
But, hey, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Shouldn’t we have some fun?
A bowl of Lucky Charms is bursting with sorting and graphing possibilities for young STEM minds. Let’s find out how.
First, create a quick chart mapping out all the marshmallows in a box. You can easily create your own or download one here. If you are working with little ones who can’t read just yet, include an example marshmallow so they know where the cereal should be placed.
Next, scoop out a bowl of Lucky Charms. Have children pick out the marshmallows and sort them into color. (No stealing a taste just yet – this is for science!)
Using your worksheet, place the marshmallows in their corresponding columns. It’s remarkable to hear children play out their own “race” between marshmallows out loud: who will be the winner?
Depending on the age of the child, some can eyeball the marshmallows on the plate and tell you which will have the most. Once they get them down in the columns, the graph becomes the teller of truth, delivering undisputable, empirical evidence. The kids think they are just finding the champion of marshmallows!
Let’s compare bowls! Discuss your findings with the children.
If you’d like, take it one more step by heading over to the computer for data input. Create a pie chart in a Word document. This offers up just another visual representation of the same information.
After all the work, enjoy the sweet reward of marshmallows! Happy graphing and may the luck of the Irish be with you this St. Patrick’s Day!