Glyphs are an interesting way to show several pieces of data at
once. They can be created in two dimensions as is done in this lesson,
or in three dimensions, such as in a diorama or with clay. Making a
glyph involves the logical skill of classification--a student must
decide which groups he or she belongs to in order to complete the
picture. Glyphs have been used as a guide to diagnosis by doctors, as a
way to describe the U.S. presidents, and as an alternative to the
traditional book report. In this lesson, they will be a means of
presenting multiple pieces of information about the students.
To begin the lesson, give each student paper plates and crayons
and inform the class that they are going to create a new way to
represent data. This new way is called a glyph. Give the following
directions, pausing after each one to give the students time to
complete that part of the drawing.
- On the edge of your plate, draw a red line if you ate a total of
five fruits and vegetables yesterday. If not, draw a green line. Write
your name on the back of the plate.
- If you walk to school, draw some blueberries on your plate.
If you ride the bus, draw some blackberries. If you travel some other
way, draw a plum.
- If you like mashed potatoes, draw some on your plate.
[Students may have trouble drawing mashed potatoes. They could draw a
regular potato instead if that is easier for them.]
- If you brought your lunch today, draw some carrots. If you did not, draw corn.
- Draw a green pea for each brother you have. For each sister, draw a stick of celery.
- Draw a radish for each year of your age. [You may wish to have
a picture of a radish available for students, or you may pick another
vegetable not already used in the glyph.]
- If you will have a birthday this month, draw another line around the rim of your plate with your blue crayon.
Note: You will need to complete a glyph for yourself (either while
students are completing their own, or you may have one prepared ahead
When the students are ready, encourage them to discuss the
glyphs in small groups. Then call the class together, and lay the
glyphs where all can see them. Ask the class what they notice about the
drawings. The "Questions for Students" (below) can be used to prompt
Next, pick one glyph at random and see whether the students
can determine whose glyph it is. Repeat with other glyphs as time
allows. Now display a plate that you have drawn about yourself, and ask
the class what they can tell about you from the picture.
Alternatively, you may display the Glyph Overhead and allow students to answer the questions about the above glyph.
This would be a good time to review the colors of healthy foods and ask students to show their food diary charts.
Orange = Grains
Green = Vegetables
Red = Fruits
Yellow = Oils
Blue = Milk
Purple = Meat and Beans
Students can compare their food diary charts with a partner.