In the Common Core, there is a measurement and data standard (MD.B) that I don’t see being addressed in many programs at the third, fourth, and fifth grade levels. It is all about students constructing and using line plots to further their understanding of fractions. I love how closely this data standard is tied into the fraction knowledge required at each grade level, and it is a great way to incorporate fractions, measurement, and data at the same time.
Here are the standards to which I am referring:
Grade 3: CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.B.4 Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units — whole numbers, halves, or quarters.
Grade 4: CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.B.4 Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Solve problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions by using information presented in line plots. For example, from a line plot find and interpret the difference in length between the longest and shortest specimens in an insect collection.
Grade 5: CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.B.2 Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Use operations on fractions for this grade to solve problems involving information presented in line plots. For example, given different measurements of liquid in identical beakers, find the amount of liquid each beaker would contain if the total amount in all the beakers was redistributed equally.
These standards have great connections to science and would be easy to incorporate the data collection and line-plot-making into multiple science units.
A Look Inside My Classroom
The kids asked and answered each other’s questions about the statistics visible on the line plot. The group decided that finding the average (mean) would be quite a bit of work and were happy to say that the answer would be “a little more than three.”
- How much longer was the longest crayon than the shortest one?
- If we put all the crayons that are three-and-a-quarter inches in a line, then how long would that line be?
- Are there any two crayons that could be put end-to-end and be the same length as another crayon?
- Which line would be longer: all of the three-and-one-eighth-inch crayons lying end-to-end or all of the three-and-three-quarter-inch crayons lying end-to-end? How much longer would one line be than the other?
These questions ended up being a great review of the fraction operations on which we have been working. Also, I was surprised how easy some of the questions ended up being for some of my students who struggle the most. The number line model really supported my students’ thinking. I really like the way this standard integrated several different things on which we had been working. I can’t wait to share this lesson with the science teachers and see how they can incorporate this standard into their own lessons. How do you plan on meeting this common core standard?
Tara, aka The Math Maniac, is a K-6 math specialist from a small town in Vermont. She loves learning about how her students think about math and is always impressed with the ways students can invent math for themselves. You can find her on Pinterest, on Teachers Pay Teachers, and on her blog, The Math Maniac.