Sometimes it can be a challenge coming up with science goals for students that are applicable across a variety of science topics, can be adapted for multiple levels and align with state standards. Since we see graphs in textbooks, in news articles and on TV, teaching students how to interpret and comprehend graphs is not only an academic skill, but a functional skill as well. Using The Autism Helper’s Graphing Mega Pack provides resources and materials to teach analytic skills across different subject areas including math and science. I use the Graphing Mega Pack as the base for my science instruction. Here are some ways I use this resource during my science lessons…
1. Slide Presentation
I have kept most of my lessons on slides to stay organized and to make sure that I include everything I wanted to teach. I include screenshots of the visuals used for the graphs from the Graphing Mega Pack, to teach students to identify the types of graphs and review this daily with my students. I also use the visuals of the charts from the worksheets so that students can practice answering questions about the different types of graphs.
All of the worksheets included in the Graphing Mega Pack are leveled and offer a wide range of activity types including vocabulary, graph comprehension, graph copying and applying data to create graphs. I utilize the visuals from the graphing comprehension worksheets in my presentation, so that students are familiar with the graph before they have guided or independent practice on the worksheet. I especially like the worksheets where students need to copy the graph because it is a helpful precursor to creating a graph from a set of data.
3. Hands-On Activities
Included in the Graphing Mega Pack are graphing sorts, file folder activities, graphing bingo and “I have, who has?” card decks. The graphing sorts are great for all students, while the file folder activities can be an alternative to the worksheets for emerging writers. I use the bingo games and “I have, who has?” cards on Fridays to reinforce the skills taught during the week.
4. Create Extension Activities
I have used the Graphing Mega Pack to help inspire extension activities on graphing in the classroom. Part of our science lesson includes health and I create graphs for students to vote which exercise they want to do for the monthly workout challenge. I also present the number of the exercises chosen in a variety of graph types throughout the month, as a way for students to practice reading a graph. We have also used the graphs from the worksheets to inspire a survey of our own classroom, using the same topics or sometimes different topics. We have taken our chart around the school to collect more data by asking other staff members our survey question, which also helps us practice our communication skills.
5. Writing Science Reports
Using information that students obtained from the graph through answering questions and multiple practice opportunities is a great way to incorporate some shared, informational writing that could eventually lead to students writing their own reports after collecting their own data through a survey. I model writing the report at first and once students have seen this a couple of times, I will do a guided practice, where I call on students to craft their own sentence that is a fact about the graph we created.