Introduction to Graphing

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Introduction to Graphing

I was recently teaching Trucker about graphs and was wondering about a hands-on method to introduce graphing. Graphing is a very visual maths activity. You only need a couple of items to introduce graphing, which you might already have lying around. I used buttons and dot stickers for this activity. Planning this introduction to graphing activity was extremely simple and fun!

Introduction to Graphing Hands-On Activity


This is an introduction to graphing, so this can be followed up with worksheets or graphing task cards. You can ask your learners to analyze the graphs and answer the questions related.

We use buttons for a lot of our maths activities, I mean there’s a whole bunch of colours and its pretty cheap, so there’s no shortage of those around. We also use dot stickers quite often, its useful for dot-a-dot activities, and I still had a bunch of those lying around.

Introduction to Graphing Hands-On Activity

Take buttons of a few different colours (we used three colours) and put them into a bowl. Then draw a table onto a piece of paper. Keep the dot stickers along with the buttons. You can choose to use dot stickers that are the same colour as the buttons or just use black dot stickers to keep things simple.

Buttons used in Introduction to Graphing Hands-On Activity


Graph drawn for Introduction to Graphing Hands-On Activity

Ask your learner to take the buttons one by one out of the bowl. As your learner does this, ask him/her to also take a dot sticker and stick it under the column of the respective colour. As they continue this process they slowly start to build up their own graph. Trucker was extremely happy with his completed graph.

Completed graph for Introduction to Graphing Hands-On Activity

Extension and Other Ideas

This helps to gain a visual and hands-on understanding of the concept of graphing which helps them in the future when they will need to analyze more complex graphs. You can also extend this activity by asking your learner to compare the different columns and asking them which button colour was the highest and the least.


This activity can be applied with several other items. 

Some examples are:

  • Family/People: Graph the number of girls vs. boys in a classroom or males vs. females in your family. We did do this as a graphing activity.
  • Toys: Graph the toys into vehicles, balls, soft toys etc.
  • Food: Graph fruits and vegetables that are available.
  • Snacks: Give your learner a certain number of snack such as chocolate, biscuits and chips and ask them to graph it.
  • Clothes: Organize clothes according to shirts, jackets, and pants and graph them.
  • Counters or cubes: Math cubes and counters are commonly used as visual aids. Since these have different colours these will make an excellent graphing activity.

Alternative Graphing Options for Introduction to Graphing Hands-On Activity

By carrying out these hands-on activities, you give the learner an understanding of how graphs can be applied into our daily lives and and how we can make use of them to our benefit.

I hope this activity will help you when teaching graphs! Do leave me a comment if you enjoyed this activity and would like to see more like this!

Do check out the following math printables as well.

If you would like to request for a math printable that you would like to see, please send me an email at [email protected]. I will do my best to assist you. Thank you for dropping by!

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