Graphing leaves in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on October 7, 2012

in Children's Books, Leave Graphing, Leaves, Mathematics

Fall weather is upon us and with that comes the changing of the leaves to the brilliant colors of red, yellow, orange, and eventually brown.  It is my favorite season and I am always sad to see it rush by so quickly. Because it rushes by so quickly, we try to take advantage of the fall leaves while we can…

We began our exploration on leaves today by reading the book “Leaves” by David Ezra Stein.  This book is about a bear who sees the first leaf fall from a tree and is very concerned for the leaf and wishes he could help the leaf go back on the tree.  But very soon, all the leaves begin to fall and the story goes on to follow the bear through hibernation in the winter and into the spring where he wakes up to find new buds and soon new leaves too…

The book is very simple but at the same time, covers a broad range of concepts that were simple to expand on in our classroom.  For today, I prepared a magnetic leaf graph to use as a beginning introduction to the graphing process…

I glued a magnets on the back of real leaves but really, tape would have worked just as well so no need to go through all the trouble of adding magnets to your leaves…

We started with three leaves on the graph. One red leaf, one green leaf, and one yellow leaf.  The leaves were from the same tree which helped us to narrow down our focus to only color for this process. Each child selected a leaf to add to the graph and as the leaves were added, we talked about keeping the reds under the red leaf column, greens under the green leaf column, and yellow under the yellow leaf column…

As the children continued to add their leaves to the graph, we compared the numbers of leaves in each column.. We discussed which column had the most amount of leaves or which column had the least amount of leaves….

Finally, we estimated how many leaves we thought were on the magnetic board all together and then we counted all the leaves to determine the actual number of leaves that were on the board…

And just for fun, I had the children close their eyes while I removed a leaf then open their eyes to tell me which color of leaf they thought was now missing from our graph…

The children were so good at this game that I suspect we had a few peeking while I wasn’t looking…

The children were brilliant at the graphing process too. The children seemed to easily understand how to keep the leaves in the correct column and along the way, we were able to explore a few new math terms as well (graph, column, row, least, most, middle, estimate, actual, compare)…

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