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Lesson Plans
Graph Your Heart Out
1st–2nd Grade
Objectives Objectives

Operations & Algebraic Thinking
  • Making estimates about the number of objects in a group and comparing the estimate to the actual amount
Measurement & Data
  • Organizing, representing, and interpreting data with up to three categories; asking and answering questions about the data points
  • Drawing a picture graph and a bar graph to represent a data set with up to four categories; solving simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information from a bar graph
Materials Materials Needed
Introduction Introduction

Capture students’ interest in estimation, counting and thinking about math by reading aloud Betcha! by Stuart J. Murphy or Math Curse by Jon Scieszka.

Ask students, “What is the difference between counting and estimating?” Guide them in understanding that estimating involves making a reasonable guess, and counting is reaching an exact answer. Explain that counting sometimes takes longer than estimating, but both methods can be used to help you figure out answers to math questions.



  1. Give each student a copy of the Graph Your Heart Out worksheet and a small box of candy conversation hearts. Tell students not to open the box yet.
  2. Hold up one conversation heart so that students can see the size of the candy. Ask, “How many candy hearts do you estimate are inside your box?” Have students write their estimates down in the blank provided on the worksheet. Encourage them to share their estimates and discuss why they think their guesses are reasonable.
  3. Next, invite students to open their boxes. As they remove the candies, have them keep a tally for each color in the middle column on the worksheet. Remind them to add up the totals for each color in the right column. When they are finished, encourage students to interpret their findings by answering the remaining questions on the worksheet.
  4. When students have completed the worksheet, ask, “How does the actual number of candies you counted compare to the estimate you made?” Find out whose estimate was the closest. Then ask, “Does each of you have the same number of candies? Do you have the same number of purple hearts in each box?” Encourage students to compare and discuss their findings as a class.

Guided/Independent Practice

Guided/Independent Practice

  1. Have students create a bar graph by sorting the candy hearts on their Hearts Graph according to color. Circulate around the room to check for understanding. Have students use their graphs to answer the questions on page 2 of the worksheet.
  2. When they are finished, encourage students to share what they discovered and compare their results.
the 1st–2nd grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)




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