Lesson 17: Picturing Data


Data can be used to help students understand their world and answer interesting questions. In this lesson, students will collect data from a Play Lab project and visualize it using different kinds of graphs.


Computers were created to help process data. There is an increasing amount of data in the world, so being able to read and analyze it is important. This lesson is here to make sure students have the basic experience of collecting, visualizing, and analyzing a simple set of data.


Warm Up (5 - 10 min)

Activity (35 min)

Wrap Up (5 min)

View on Code Studio


Students will be able to:

  • Collect and record data about quantities of real objects, or characters on a screen
  • Create a bar graph and pie chart to represent simple data.
  • Make comparisons between data visualizations made by others and use them to make a prediction.


  • Print out one Graphing Data from Play Lab worksheet for each student.
  • Try today's lesson on Code Studio. This is meant to be used as a tool for today's activity. Be prepared to project it to the class, or otherwise allow students to visit it on their own computers.


Heads Up! Please make a copy of any documents you plan to share with students.

For the Teachers


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Teaching Guide

Warm Up (5 - 10 min)

The Need for Visualization


In a moment I am going to ask each of you to tell me your favorite favorite season. On the count of 3, everyone should answer the question and then we will try to see if we can figure out which is the most popular season with the students in this class. Are you thinking of your favorite season? 1, 2, 3...

Students should all answer at once.

Discuss: Can we tell which season most of the class likes? How can we be sure? Encourage students to justify why they believe in their response.

Prompt: What could we do to be more certain that we know which season most people like? Take ideas from the class, but lead them towards writing the data down using tally marks on a board or chart paper.


Tally marks like these help us to keep track of everyone's answers, which is great. It still takes time to count them to know which option was chosen by the most or fewest students. Imagine if someone showed us tally marks for the entire school. It would take some time to count them!

Activity (35 min)

Graphing Data

Teaching Tip

This program generates a random assortment of pets each time it is run. If you are projecting the program for the whole class to use, consider running it multiple times and asking different groups of students to track the numbers each time so that there will be variety in their responses for later discussion.

Distribute: Pass out the Graphing Data worksheet along with pencils and coloring instruments of some kind. Direct students to Code Studio or project the level on the board.

This activity is broken into two parts. On the first page students use tally marks to keep track of how many times each pet appears in the program. On the second page they use a variety of graphs to visualize the data they collected.

Share: After finishing, encourage students can share their results with a neighbor and look for similarities and differences. When the whole class is ready, bring everyone together.

Discussion Goal

The goal of this discussion is to get students thinking about the usefulness of data in identifying or answer questions, and to start them thinking about why they might want to use different kinds of visualizations (graphs in this case).

Discuss: Ask the class to discuss some of the following questions:

  • Which graph shows you the most useful information? Why?
  • Which pets did you see the most? Is that true for everyone?
  • What do you think would happen if this program run for 100 animals? 1000?
  • What questions could you answer with your data?
  • What questions would you like to be able to answer?

Wrap Up (5 min)

Journal: Collecting and graphing data can help us ask and answer interesting questions. In your journal, write down one question that you would like to answer and what data you might want to collect. For example, if you play soccer, you might want to know if goals are more often scored from the left, the right, or center - what data would you want to collect to answer that question? How would you show it?

  • Levels
  • 1
  • 2
  • (click tabs to see student view)
View on Code Studio

Student Instructions

Press Run. The wizard will make animals appear. Count them. What do you notice?

View on Code Studio

Student Instructions

Standards Alignment

View full course alignment

CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2017)

DA - Data & Analysis
  • 1A-DA-05 - Store, copy, search, retrieve, modify, and delete information using a computing device and define the information stored as data.
  • 1A-DA-06 - Collect and present the same data in various visual formats.
  • 1A-DA-07 - Identify and describe patterns in data visualizations, such as charts or graphs, to make predictions.

Cross-curricular Opportunities

This list represents opportunities in this lesson to support standards in other content areas.

Common Core Math Standards

MD - Measurement And Data
  • 1.MD.4 - Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.
  • 2.MD.10 - Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put- together, take-apart, and compare problems4 using information presented in a bar graph.