Creating Line Plots

Learning how to create line plots is a second grade, Common Core math skill: 2.MD.9. Below we show two videos that demonstrate this standard. Then, we provide a breakdown of the specific steps in the videos to help you teach your class.

Prior Learnings

Your students will have learned how to measure objects through non-standard units, like using paperclips to measure a pencil (1.MD.1). They should also be able to compare objects using terms like longer, shorter, longest, and shortest (1.MD.2). 

Future Learnings

In the future, understanding how to measure objects with a ruler will help your students expand on and apply the concept elsewhere. Students will be able to make a line plot, measure objects, and place those measurements on the plot (2.MD.9). Your students will also be able to use rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch (3.MD.3) and apply “linear measurement to measure perimeter and area” (3.MD.5- 8).

Common Core Standard: 2.MD.9 - Generate measurement data by measuring lengths of several objects, or the same object, to the nearest whole unit and make a line plot to show the data

Students who understand this principle can:

  1. Record and measure several objects’ lengths to the nearest whole-number.
  2. Create a line plot with whole-number units on a horizontal scale.
  3. Record the lengths of objects on a line plot.

2 Videos to Help You Teach Common Core Standard: 2.MD.9

Below we provide and breakdown two videos to help you teach your students this standard.

Video 1: Creating a Line Plot with Number One

 The Number One leads viewers through the process of building a line plot. First, he gathers the data that will be used on the line plot. To gather the data, One measures the lengths of various objects, writes those numbers on a piece of paper, and uses that information to construct the line plot.

 His friend Speedy the snail brings objects for One to measure.

  1. A pencil that is 6 inches long.
  2. A marker that is 6 inches long.
  3. A book that is 9 inches long.
  4. And, Speedy the snail is 4 inches long.

These measurements are then included in a list of measurements that One already measured. Next, One goes through the steps of building a line plot.

  1. First, create a title.
    a. Title: Object Measurements. 
  2. Next, draw a straight, horizontal line.
  3. To the left side, write the measurement unit.
    a. Inches.
  4. Write the numbers 1-9 under the line.
  5. Then, input the measurement data.
  6. One uses an X to represent how many times each number occurs.

The data from the measurements is filled into the line plot. Below is a picture of the completed line plot from the video.

The video ends by asking viewers to identify how many objects were 6 inches long. There were 4 objects that were 6 inches long, and the 4 Xs represent that.

Video 2: Understand and Create a Line Plot

The video starts by explaining what a line plot is and how it is used: “A line plot is a graph that shows the frequency of data along a line.” Then, Boddle explains frequency and data.

  1. Frequency: The number of times an object appears on the line plot.
  2. Data: A set or group of objects that are being recorded.

Boddle then looks at an example of a line plot to see how it works. The graph shows the number of students who have lost their pencils within the week.

  1. The numbers below the line show the number of pencils lost.
  2. The dots above the line represent the students who were asked if they lost a pencil.
  3. 1 dot is above the number 0, so 1 student did not lose their pencil.
  4. 5 dots are above the number 1, so 5 students lost 1 pencil.
  5. 2 dots are above the number 2, so 2 students lost 2 pencils. 
  6. 1 dot is above the number 3, so 1 student lost 3 pencils.

Next, Boddle creates a line plot with the students. A teacher has collected the scores for a math assignment and listed them in a table. Below is a picture of the table from the video.

Boddle then goes through the steps on building a line plot.

  1. Create a title: “Math Assignment Scores.”
  2. Draw a line.
  3. Add the scores from the table.
    a. 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30.
  4. Now, draw the appropriate number of dots over each number, using the table.

Below is a picture of the finish line plot from the video.

Based on the line plot, viewers can see that most of the students scored a 28 out of 30. Also, the lowest score was 26, and the highest was 30. 

Want more practice?

Give your students additional standards-aligned practice with Boddle Learning. Boddle includes questions related to Comparing and Measuring Lengths plus rewarding coins and games for your students to keep them engaged. Click here to sign up for Boddle Learning and create your first assignment today.

*Information on standards is gathered from The New Mexico Public Education Department's New Mexico Instructional Scope for Mathematics and the Common Core website.