Sunday, July 15, 2012

DIY Graphing Mat

So I mentioned last post that I was at a week-long math conference. Well, it was called "Math Camp" and it was SOOOOO worth the 3 hour drive and money spent!!

Random thing I just HAVE to share: Me and my two camp buddies had a great stay at a super nice hotel for the week. However (haha), the following picture is of our neighbors' door! We're not quite sure what was going on there, but from Monday-Friday they had the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door AND that towel stuffed at the bottom of the door!! They also would put out some random items next to the door sometimes. We could hear them talking and moving at night but never actually saw them leave. (I'm just wondering how they got clean towels if that sign never came off of the door??) I'm sure they're still there. And if this was you, I apologize and I need an explanation! ;)



ANYWAY, back on topic--Have you ever heard of Kim Sutton, Barbara Novelli, or Creative Mathematics (think Greg Tang and Marcy Cook)?? If not, you need to FIND OUT!! Follow one of the links to find out more because EVERY teacher needs to hang out and learn with them! They have A-M-A-Z-I-N-G stuff, they are both incredibly knowledgeable teachers, and are just downright wonderful people. I share the same passion they do about educating children, specifically in math. We also share a very important stance--in order to effectively teach children mathematics, teachers MUST know math themselves! I had such a wonderful week. I actually went to Barbara Novelli's K-1 session. Did any of you happen to be there??

We did a plethora of awesome activities and I am now overloaded and overflowing with new ideas. I actually asked Barbara about sharing some of her (and Kim's) ideas with you all in blog land and she was very supportive! I will be posting some of those later on because I will have to obtain permission for each idea prior to posting. I definitely do NOT want to violate any copyright laws or anything. :)

Barbara had this awesome graphing mat that she purchased from online that she uses to make all sorts of bar graphs with students using real objects. We went through a few activities ourselves with her modeling several ways of discussing the graphs with students. We had a make-and-take session one day and instead of making all of the items she suggested (being the rebel that I am) I decided to make my own version of her graphing mat. (Don't worry, I plan on making her materials later when I have all of the colors, patterns, etc. that I want). I'm linking up my graphing mat to Tara's weekly party!


The grid I made is two-sided with room for 4 outcomes on one side and 2 outcomes on the other. The boxes on the grid are used to hold objects based on the question. 
One way to use this with your class is to have the graph ready for answering when they walk in the door. It could be part of a morning routine or used at another transition time. Pick your objects based on the question to make it more fun and to better connect it to their lives. So, example-- I have a plate of marshmallows ready to go to answer this S'Mores question:

The students simply pick up an object and place it on the mat appropriately. Possible outcome:
 Here is another example using the 4-outcome side (and I just used a cutout of a house for this one for the sake of example):

You can use all sorts of questions and all sorts of objects to answer with! Let the students guide the discussions about the graphs! Let them share what they notice about the graph (beyond the most and the least). Also, encourage them to share connections and thoughts about the data (sample response, "Some people probably have not tried S'mores because they have probably have not been camping" or "Lisa probably hasn't eaten a S'More because she does not like chocolate.")

Now, I know that I may have more responses than I do boxes on the mat. I'm okay with the data going "off the charts!" Ideally, I want the boxes to be bigger, but I also want enough space to be able to fit real objects in. I could have made a bigger mat but opted not to so it fit in the space on my classroom floor I imagine it to go on. :)

To make the mat, you will need:
  • duct tape
  • plastic tablecloth (rectangular)
  • yard stick
  • pen or marker
  • scissors
  • Exacto knife or box cutter (optional)
I don't have pictures of the actual process, but it's pretty simple (though tedious). I bought a rectangular tablecloth and unfolded it except for one fold so the mat would be a little more durable. I then measured the length and width to figure out how many boxes might fit in it (the boxes are about 4" on each side). The most tedious part was taping! Luckily, duct tape goes off and on fairly easily. I did the border first and then tackled the horizontal and vertical lines.

Who says you don't use math in real life???!!?!?

DIY Recommendations:
  • I made mine on the very flat carpet of a school library. It worked out very well except the tape kept picking up stranger hair from the floor (shudder). Flat, non-shaggy carpet or tile would probably work best.
  • It would be helpful to draw lines on the mat before you tape. I didn't do that. :)
  • Cut the duct tape in half (lengthwise) before taping so you don't end up with ginormous tape lines. You can use an Exacto knife or box cutter to cut the tape while it is still on the roll or you can just lay out the tape and cut it with scissors
  • Make it two-sided! I am really excited about this versatility.

One final thing to share--I put together a quick list of possible questions to use with your graphing mat (as pictured below). Grab your free copy by heading over to one of my stores!




What do you think about this??

32 comments:

  1. I wish I had seen this about 2 weeks ago. I started creating my graphing pages that I will use as part of our math warm-ups. I was struggling to come up with enough graphing questions though, so I REALLY appreciate your graphing questions page.
    Storie
    Stories by Storie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you are able to use the document! :)

      Delete
  2. Janaye,
    As soon as I started reading this post I fell in love with your graphing mat. Rather than continue reading I started trying to figure out how to make one. Me: I wonder if that is paper or cloth? Is that tape she used to make the lines?

    THEN I saw that you gave explicit directions!!! Guess what I will be doing tomorrow? Thank you!!!
    Camille
    An Open Door

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woohoo, glad you like the idea! You'll have to post about yours! :)

      Delete
  3. I absolutely love the idea of real life objects being used. It makes the connection that math can be used in daily for anything. The kids would be able to relate to that. How about using a shower curtain for the double sided? Or would that be too big? Anyway, thanks for the awesome ideas and the freebies! Can't wait to hear more about all the neato stuff you learned.
    Paula

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think a shower curtain would be GREAT! It would be a great size and hold more objects or even the kids themselves! Thanks for stopping by! :)

      Delete
  4. Love your graphing mat... I have had the same one for over 10 years that I made from painters tape and a shower curtain. Your graphing questions are great.
    I'm way concerned about your neighbor's door.... who puts a towel under a door in a hotel? Why, why, why?! Strangest thing ever. haha
    ❤Dragonflies in First ❤

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Traci -
      I am new to the whole blogging world, and am trying to figure things out....how do you add the link at the bottom of your post to your blog?
      Thank you for any help/advice you can share!

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Traci! I was wishing I had painter's tape when I was making mine--forgot to mention that in the post! A shower curtain is a great idea too! It could be much bigger that way. And I am SO glad that I am not the only one weirded out by the neighbor's door, lol!

      Barbara, you can find a tutorial here to help you !: http://www.ladybugsteacherfiles.com/2011/04/video-tutorial-leaving-direct-links-in.html

      Delete
  5. Can't wait to see what else you get to post from the conference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's good stuff! Can't wait to post about it!

      Delete
  6. I love that idea! I will be making one for my classroom this year. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great idea! But now I'm obsessing about why your neighbors' door looked like that. How did that get that towel outside the door to lie so snug like that? My guess is that they were trying to block some kind of smell, like cigarettes or pot or something.

    Heather
    Peacocks and Penguins - 4th Grade

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, our guess was Honeymoon or pot smokers--lol

      Delete
  8. Loving the contrasting cuteness of the pink tape on white! Thanks for sharing this. Happy to have found your blog and be your newest follower! Come checkout my blog & enter to win my sunflower life cycle giveaway while you're there - wishing you the best WINNING luck! :)

    Antonia
    forkin4th

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!! Heading over to your blog now! :)

      Delete
  9. So cute! Just wanting to echo that if you have never been to a Kim Sutton (and associates) workshop you NEED too! It will change the way you teach! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wonderful idea! Look forward to making my own before school starts next week. Appreciate you sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a great idea! I am now adding this to my "Things to do in the next 2 weeks and 3 days" list! I think my 2nd grade darlings will love it!
    Splendor of Second

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2 weeks and 3 days left?? Aaahhh!

      Delete
  12. This seems like a great idea!
    ~April
    The Idea Backpack
    ideabackpack@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, April! And I am not sure if I've been to your blog before so I am heading over now! :)

      Delete
  13. Well this is just AWESOME. I love Kim Sutton! We have a few of her books at my school. She had some awesome ideas for place value that I used this year. I am sooo excited to see the rest of your posts on what you learned! Definitely following you! :)

    Amanda
    Reaching for the TOP!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by!! Kim Sutton is definitely amazing and does have awesome place value stuff. Love it. Heading over to your blog now! :)

      Delete
  14. Hi Janaye! Thanks for linking up:) Love your graphing mats!!! The kids will have so much fun with them:)) Would love it if you grabbed my button:) Too funny/scary about the hotel neighbors.....I would be wondering WHAT THE HECK......hmmmmmmm. Thanks again:)

    4th Grade Frolics

    ReplyDelete