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Lesson Plan #: AELP-MPS0206
Submitted by: Tina Vecellio
Email: tavst11@pitt.edu
School/University/Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, PA

January 30, 2003

Grade Level: 2, 3


  • Mathematics/Process Skills
  • Social Studies/Holidays/Specific Holidays

Duration: 30-45 minutes

Description: Students learn how to create a non-standard graph using information about their Thanksgiving. At the end of the lesson, teachers will have a variety of turkeys to hang on a bulletin board (which will tell a story about each student in the class).

Goals: Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Mathematics :

  • Statistics and Data Analysis
    • 2.6.3.A. Gather, organize, and displays data using pictures, tallies, charts, bar graphs and pictographs.
    • 2.6.3.B. Formulate and answer questions based on data shown on graphs.
    • 2.6.3.D. Form and justify an opinion on whether a given statement is reasonable based on a comparison to data.
  • Algebra and Functions
    • 2.8.3.D. Create a story to match a given combination of symbols and numbers.
    • 2.8.3.G. Use a table or a chart to display information.
    • 2.8.3.H. Describe and interpret the data shown in tables and charts.


  • Students will be able to define and identify a glyph.
  • Students will be able to collect, display, and interpret data about themselves.
  • Students will be able to use and read a legend to create a glyph.
  • Materials:

    • various colors of construction paper
    • paper plates
    • crayons
    • glue/paste


  • glyph – A nonstandard way of graphing information. In the end you can use the glyph to tell a story.
  • cranberries – A red berry that is eaten on Thanksgiving.
  • wattle – The beard of a turkey.
  • Procedure:

    Anticipatory Set (Prior Knowledge):
    Remind students how they have been learning about graphs. Ask them to name the different types of graphs they have learned about (pie, line, bar). Then ask students if they know what a glyph is. Explain that a glyph is a type of graph that uses symbols to represent different data. It is a non-standard way of graphing information. To help them understand better, have a few of the students stand up in front of the class. These students will be living glyphs. Give the following instructions:

    • If you are happy to be here, touch your nose. If you are not happy to be here, don’t touch your nose.
    • If you don’t like macaroni and cheese, sit down. If you like macaroni and cheese, stay standing.
    • If you have brothers and sisters, show how many with your hands. If you have no brothers and sisters, make a fist.

    Then explain that this is a glyph because we can tell a story about each person using the legend. What is a legend? Students should recall that a legend is used to read a graph. Use one of the students as an example to tell a story. Thank the students who volunteered and have them sit down.

    Today, instead of putting our collected information into a line, bar, or pie graph, we are going to create a glyph with the data, just as I did up here. And since it is around Thanksgiving, we are going to make a turkey glyph. After the turkey glyphs have been created, we will have volunteers share their glyphs with us. Before we start, I want to remind you that you need to listen very closely to the directions, and if you need help I will be around. Since this is your first time creating a glyph, I will go through the process step-by-step. (Have all materials set up on a table. The materials should be organized for each step.)

    Lesson Focus:
    The children will be working independently and will have a whole math class to finish the glyphs. Help the students create a glyph using a step-by-step process. After each step, give the children about 3-5 minutes to complete the step. Observe the students and their progress.

    Steps for creating a Turkey Glyph:
    (Also used as a legend. To make the process easier, the teacher can put each step on the overhead/blackboard so that children can see each step.)

  • The Body
    Like dark meat = dark brown paper
    Like white meat = light brown paper
    Don’t like turkey = white paper
    (For this step, the students will be called to the back of the room to obtain the paper they would need (light brown, dark brown, white) and each group would be given a big and small paper plate to use as tracers for the body and the head.)
  • The Feet
    Staying home for Thanksgiving = yellow feet
    Going away for Thanksgiving = red feet
  • The Beak
    We will eat in the kitchen = yellow beak
    We will eat in another room = orange beak
  • The Wattle (the beard of the turkey)
    I like gravy = red
    I don’t like gravy = orange
    (For steps 2, 3, and 4, the students would be called to the back of the room by table to get their beak and wattle (pre-cut by the teacher)).
  • Eyes
    I will eat dessert = open eyes
    I won’t eat desert = shut eyes
    (The students can draw the eyes on with a black crayon.)
  • Feathers (Use all that are true)
    I like cranberries = red
    I like green beans = green
    I like corn = yellow
    I like stuffing = brown
    I like mashed potatoes = white
    I like rolls = blue
    I like pumpkin pie = orange
    (All the feathers will be organized on the back table, and the students will come through one group at a time to get the feathers needed.)
  • Closure:
    After everyone has finished their glyphs, the students will gather at the rug area. Students will stand up and tell the story of their glyph, using the legend. These glyphs can be displayed in the classroom (along with the legend) to show what the class is learning. Assessment: Observe students’ participation in the activity. Collect the glyphs and use a rubric to asses the students’ work:

    • 3 points – Followed all the directions in the legend to make a glyph. All the items on the glyph are in place.
    • 2 points – Followed most of the directions in the legend to make a glyph. Most of the items are placed on the glyph.
    • 1 point – Followed a few of the directions in the legend to make a glyph. Only some items are presented on the glyph.
    • 0 points – Did not follow any directions, and there was no participation in the activity.

    Useful Internet Resource:
    * Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Mathematics