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The Bread Basket

Food Court
Data Analysis and Probability
Grace M. Burton
Location: unknown

In this lesson, students conduct a survey and create bar graphs from the data they have collected.

Begin the lesson by doing a quick poll of the students. For example, you may wish to ask students what their favorite type of bread is. Some possible types of bread include white, wheat, rye, bagels, etc. You may allow students to say whatever type is their favorite, or simply offer 4-5 choices from which they can choose. Record this data on the chalkboard.

Using the Bar Grapher Tool, create a bar graph of the class data.

appicon Bar Grapher Tool

Referring to the data they just collected, elicit from the class a possible name for the bar graph.

pdficon Grid Paper

Distribute Grid Paper and ask the students to copy the bar graph onto it. You may wish to circulate as the students work to be sure that all students can successfully complete a bar graph.

Introduce the unit by asking the students if they have ever visited a food court. Invite those who have to list the types of food that could be purchased there. Now inform the students that for the next few days, their math lessons will center on the theme of food courts.

Assign students to groups of two or three and distribute a copy of the Bread Basket Activity Sheet to each group.

pdficon Bread Basket Activity Sheet

Ask them to notice that there are three types of bread and two fillings to be listed on the menu. (If students need help, you can suggest possible fillings, such as ham, tuna salad, salami, etc.) Ask the group to decide on what bread and fillings their menu will have and to write those choices in the appropriate places. Then have them list all the possible sandwiches that can be made. (There are six possible sandwiches.)

Ask them to survey the class as to what sandwich they would order from the menu. Remind them to make a plan so that no student will be surveyed more than once and to also decide how they will record the answers. Rather than having each group ask members of their own class, you may wish to arrange with fellow teachers that their classes be surveyed.)

When all the data have been collected, students should open the Bar Grapher to display their data as a bar graph.

After the students have discussed the bar graph, print out the bar graph for future reference. Alternatively, you can collect the sheets for a bulletin board or a hallway display.

Assessment Options
  1. At this stage of the unit, students should be able to:
    • collect and classify data
    • create a bar graph
    • pose and answer questions about a set of data
  2. You may find it helpful to record on the Class Notes your observations about the progress of individual students toward the learning objectives in this lesson. These notes will be useful when later discussing students’ levels of achievement with them and their parents. It will also inform future lesson planning.
  3. Put the students into pairs and tell each pair to plan a party for eight people. Since the menu does not have prices, inform students that they should estimate what those prices might be. Similarly, if they wish to order something that is not on the menu, they may wish to estimate the prices for the items.When they are ready, ask them to write the price of the party on the board. Then have the pairs find the mean, median, and mode of the price of the party. When all have had time to complete the task, identify one pair and call on a volunteer from that pair to describe the menu and to share their findings. Repeat with each pair.


  1. Ask the students to write the fraction that tells how many students they surveyed preferred each sandwich. (For example, 2/5 of the students chose ham on rye.)
  2. Have the students make a scale drawing or construct a 3-D model of a food court. As each business is described in upcoming lessons, ask the students to include it in their model or drawing.
  3. Move on to the next lesson, The Soup Spot.

Questions for Students 

  1. What choices of sandwiches did your group have? How many students chose (name a sandwich from the list)? Repeat, naming other combinations.
  2. Which sandwich was chosen least often? Most often? How do you know?
  3. My preference would be (name a sandwich from the list). How would that change your graph? Would it change your mode?

Teacher Reflection 

  • Which students were able to create bar graphs without help?
  • Were all students able to answer questions about the data using the bar graph?
  • Which students met all the objectives of this lesson? What extension activities would be appropriate for those students?
  • Which students did not meet the objectives of this lesson? What instructional experiences do they need next?
  • Would I make any adjustments the next time I teach this lesson?
Data Analysis and Probability

The Soup Spot

Students conduct a survey and create pictographs and line plots. They also determine the number of possible combinations.
Data Analysis and Probability

The Clucking Chicken

Students choose meals from a menu and then construct a box plot. They use the plot to identify the mean, mode, median and range of the data set.
Data Analysis and Probability

The Pizza Palace

Students will construct box plots independently. Students identify the mean, median, mode, and range of a set of data.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Conduct a survey to answer a question
  • Create bar graphs

NCTM Standards and Expectations

  • Design investigations to address a question and consider how data-collection methods affect the nature of the data set.
  • Collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments.
  • Represent data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs.

Common Core State Standards – Mathematics

Grade 3, Measurement & Data

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.B.3
    Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step ''how many more'' and ''how many less'' problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For example, draw a bar graph in which each square in the bar graph might represent 5 pets.