Students will learn about sorting and graphing.
Collect Data - Button Week
- Unifix® cubes &
elastics to group into
- Button Week Table
- The Button Box
- Venn Diagrams for each
- Boxes of buttons with attribute
Bull's Eye Graph
- Bull’s Eye Graphs
- Box of buttons
- The Button Box, by Margarette Reid; ISBN 0-525-44590
- Grandma’s Button Box, by Linda Williams Aber;
- Frog and Toad Are Friends, by Arnold Lobel; ISBN 0-06-444020-6
Background for Teachers
Sorting objects by attributes and describing the similarities and differences
are important first steps before a student can represent and make sense
of the data. Before teaching this lesson, give students the opportunity
to sort with a Venn Diagram. For this lesson, try to have most of the supplies
ready before the students go to their desks. Take pictures of their discoveries
and activities and mount them so they can be reviewed later. It is important
to model how to complete the Bull’s Eye Graph.
Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude.
5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
Who has the Bodacious Button?
Pass out all 48 attribute buttons, some students may have 2 and
some may have 1. (Tell the students that beforehand to avoid
problems.) Ask students to tell about the attributes of the buttons (2-
holes, 4-holes, large, small, triangle, square, circle, red, yellow, blue,
and green). Have cards for each of the attributes and keep them upside down
in groups of holes, size, shape, and color. The color cards should
be last. Ask the class to stand up. Turn over an attribute card for each
group. Students look at their button(s) to see if they are still in the
running for Bodacious Button. If not, the student sits down. The last
person standing has the bodacious button! (Clap) Check it and play again
with different card combinations.
It is important to get all of the 48 buttons back from the first
game. Students can bring them up to a graph that has two
columns: “I am wearing buttons today.” “I am not wearing
buttons today.” Place the buttons on the graph to show the data.
Talk about the data and compare the columns. (If some students
had 2 or more buttons, they put the extra ones in a basket.)
Collect Data—Button Week
- Each day, pass
out Unifix® cubes to each table.
- Students take a cube for each button
they are wearing that day.
- Call for one student at each table to collect
all the cubes and put
them into tens and ones.
- As each table captain brings them up, guide the
class to regroup
when it is possible to make more tens.
- Count them and stack the Unifix® cubes
on the chalk tray each
day. (Leave them there all week.) Record the data on a class
- On Friday, combine all the Unifix® cubes into hundreds (by
wrapping 10 tens with two rubber bands to make a flat), tens, and
ones to see how many buttons the class wore for the whole week.
|How Many Buttons Worn?
- Read The Button Box.
- Distribute a box of buttons to each table.
- Have the students look at
the buttons and describe their attributes.
Write down the list of attributes.
- Pass out two cards to each table with
attributes like: little/gold,
black/small, white/4-holes, 2-holes/plastic, shiny/textured,
- Pass out the 12” x 18” Venn Diagrams or
sorting hoops to each table and put an
attribute card in each of the two circles.
- Students put the buttons in
spaces. (Some may go in the intersecting
- After a few minutes, stop and have the
class walk around and see everyone’s Venn
Diagrams. (Cards may be taken away to
see if others can tell how the diagram was
Bull’s Eye Graph
- Students put the buttons
into the boxes.
- Pass out a large poster-sized Bull’s Eye Graph. Model how
to find all the buttons in the
box that are round and put
them on the outside ring of the
graph. (All buttons that are not
round should be left in the
- After the students have seen you model the first step, they can go
to their desks and follow directions as a table group.
- Take the white buttons
from the round ring and slide them to the
next ring, leaving all the round buttons that are not white in the
- Move the 2-holed buttons from the white ring to the next smallest
ring, and from that ring, move the very smallest button(s) to the
center ring. This is a different way to graph data.
- Model how to carefully
pick up the poster board and pour the
buttons into the box again.
- Using a permanent marker, make button
dice on blank cubes with
6 attributes: 2-holed, 4-holed, shank, metal, white, textured.
- With your Button Up worksheet, place an x at the top of the
column (with a crayon) to predict which button will reach the top
- Put buttons on the graph to correspond to what is rolled on the
die. This is a real graph.
- When one column is filled up, you stop and record
with a pencil
what your graph looked like. See if your prediction is correct.
the graph to someone else. Use comparative words.
- Make a journal about Button
Week by recording your activities.
Students should include the results of the activity. If you do this
activity in February or March, the students are capable of
describing in writing what the class did. Gifted and talented
students love to extend their learning by creating a class book
with cooperative learning groups.
- Act out Frog and Toad are Friends. Use
real buttons to match the
text. ESL and special needs students benefit from acting out a
story. Visual and kinesthetic activities increase their
understanding of the vocabulary and main idea.
- Have students create a graph about their family’s buttons worn on
- Graph how many pockets each family member has. Bring the
graph back to school and let each student interpret his/her graph
for the class.
- As the students make individual Button Up Graphs with
probability dice, ask each student to interpret his/her own graph.
They should be able to verbally state relationships, such as one
column is two more than another column, a certain button is the
least or most, etc.
- During the button sorting with the Venn Diagram, check
each student to see if sorting is done correctly.
- Observe students as they
form tens and ones with the Unifix®
cubes to see if they understand the regrouping concept.
Fennell, F. (1990). Implementing the Standards—Probability. Arithmetic
Fennell emphasizes that classroom activities should involve physical
materials and provide opportunities for questioning, problem solving, and
Chen, A. (1999). Schema Induction in Children’s Analogical Problem
Solving. Journal of
Educational Psychology, 91(4), 703-715.
One of the more powerful findings of instructional strategies is that
graphic and symbolic representations of similarities and differences
enhance students’ understanding of content.