Teach Graphing to Elementary Students with this Simple Shoe Activity

Needed Materials

18" x 24" pieces of posterboard with X and Y-axes drawn on them

2" x 12" strips of red, blue, yellow, and green construction paper


Description of the Activity

  • Place students into groups of 4-5 students each.
  • Tell the class, that without looking at other students' shoes, they are going to predict how many of each type of shoe (sneakers, boots, sandals, other) are in the class.
  • Ask the students to write down an individual prediction as to how many of each type of shoe they think are in the classroom.
  • After writing down individual predictions, the students will discuss as a group the predictions and come up with a prediction for each type of shoe. At this point, students may look at the shoes in their group. Using this sample, groups may adjust their predictions.
  • Give each group a strip of each color of paper. Red is for sneakers, blue is for boots, yellow is for sandals, and green is for any other types of shoes. 1" of paper represents one pair of shoes.
  • Students will then create a bar graph on their posterboard using their strips of paper for the bars.
  • Have students share their predictions with the class.
  • Now count the actual number of each type of shoe in the class. Using the same colors and scale, create a graph which describes the actual number of each type of shoe.
  • Compare the students' estimates to the actual numbers.
  • Discuss how accurate their estimates were. Discuss how effective a sample may or may not be in determining actual amounts.


  • Students will orally and in writing explain how they arrived at their predictions.
  • Students will orally and in writing interpret the resulting graph.


  • Use the same results to create a pictograph using the key of 2 pair of shoes equals one picture.
  • Discuss how samples are used in our society (i.e. polls, census)