Scatter Plot Lesson Plan

Purpose: This lesson is designed for 8th grade students to explore scatter plots.

Prior to the lesson have students work in groups 4 to collect data on 20 people on one of the following topics: number of hours people work and their salaries, amount of hours high students study and their GPA, student’s arm span and their heights.

Give students a worksheet of a scatter plot about the population growth from 2000-2004,  have the students answer the following questions.

What was Washington’s percentage growth from 2000 to 2004? _________

What other information can be given for point labeled Washington? _________

Which state had the largest population growth by July of 2004? _________

What information can be given from a data point? _____________________________________



Write a statement about North Dakota? ____________________________________________


Discuss the responses with the students. Discuss and explain the following term using the scatter plot above: data point, scatter plot, cluster, outlier.

Explain to the students that they will be creating scatter plots using the information they collected from the survey they completed with their group. Have the students use the Excel application on their computers to enter the information they collected from their survey. Guide students through creating a scatter plot in Excel.

Discuss with students how a scatter plot shows a relationship between two sets of data. Have students identify the outliers, and the clusters with the scatter plot. Next have the students write a brief statement about the data based on the scatter plot.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gk1as
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 20:52:07

    Gail you do very detail lesson plans. I am taking some of your ideas. Your three topics were good, especially the one to collect data on amount of hours high school students study and their GPA (relevance).

    I thought of another that would be hands–on. It would certainly liven up the concept of scatter plot. Have the students play a game of basketball. You let them know that there will be no teasing. Students would have about 30-45 seconds to shoot lay-ups back and forth from the left side to the right side.
    They will record the number of shots made.
    Students will take turns shooting.
    Records can be taken by the number of students, height of the students, and the number of shots made.
    Then make a graph based on number of students and shots; a second one can be made on height of students and shots.
    Let the students analyze the graph and come up with their own conclusion about the relationship.
    For a higher level thinking, have students discuss how the information obtained could be used to make predictions. Have students do their own research on a topic of choice – e.g.Teen pregnancy and drop-out rate and make their own conclusion – relevance.

    The lesson was wonderful.


  2. Maria Droujkova
    Aug 22, 2010 @ 02:58:31

    Interesting lesson, and interesting addition by gk1as. I wonder what other correlations students could uncover if they think to collect additional data. For example, does success in basketball correlate with sports/fitness experience? Dance classes? Grades in math? 🙂 Students could try and hunt for other correlations.

    IQ in young kids correlates pretty well with shoe size. If you don’t control by age, that is! 😉


  3. ajw0812
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 00:37:03

    Gail, I concur with the others – great lesson plan with a lot of detail. In terms of potentially reducing any math anxiety with students – perhaps the scatter plot could be built up in a scaffolded fashion. The scatter plot with all the data and labels might be a bit overwhelming for students who aren’t yet comfortable with scatter plots. Maybe the teacher could start with a few points on the graph and add one a time to reinforce the learning. Then the activity could include the chart as presented!


  4. gk1as
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 05:53:51

    This lesson also meets the requirement of mathematical sophistication with the patterns that the students will discover as they plot their information. They would also see relationships and make sense of the relationships because of hands-on. The students would use logical arguments to predict and convince based on information gathered.


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