Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Record 'THE' Results

Kim Auerbach


Students predict, then discover the number of times the word -the- appears on an average newspaper page. Results are posted on a back-to-back stem and leaf plot.


The student generates and collects data for analysis.

The student interprets and analyzes data presented in a variety of forms, including box-and-whisker graphs and scatter plots.


-Single pages of newspaper (1 per student)
-Highlighter/marker (1 per student)
-Self-sticking notes, two different colors (1 each per student)
-Calculators, classroom set (optional)


1. Gather newspapers, highlighters/markers, self-sticking notes, and calculators.
2. Make copies of Record -THE- Results Activity Sheet.


1. Review the concepts of mean, median, mode and range.
2. Tell students that they will be learning two new graphing methods. The Stem and Leaf Plot and the Back-to-back Stem and Leaf Plot.
3. Stress to students that information can be organized and displayed using various graphing methods. Ask students how many different types of graphs they can think of. Call on students to sketch and label different graph types on the chalkboard.
4. Today, we're going to discuss a new method of graphing, the -Stem and Leaf Plot.- This method allows you to display every number in a data set. Draw a stem and leaf plot on the board and explain the different parts. (The stem is where the ten's digits are located, and the leaf is where the one's digit will be posted.)
5. But first, we need to generate some data. Hold up a single page of newspaper. Ask students to -predict- the number of times the word -the- appears on one page.
Students will write their prediction as the answer to question 3 on the activity sheet.
6. Students write the ones digit only on one self-sticking note. (This is the leaf part of the graph.)
7. Above the leaf part of the graph title it -Predictions-. Then, allow students to place their prediction on the horizontal line that corresponds with the correct stem of the graph.
8. Have one student rearrange the self-sticking notes so that numbers are in ascending order.
9. Find the mean, median, mode and range of the set of data. Discuss results.
10. Now students will discover how many -the's- are on a page of the newspaper. Have students highlight or circle every -the- on their page of newspaper. Record their result as the answer to question 5 on the activity sheet.
11. Students place the one's digit only on the self-sticking note (second color). Above the leaf part of the back-to-back stem and leaf graph, title it -Discoveries- and post results on the corresponding line, forming a back-to-back stem and leaf plot.
12. Rearrange results in ascending order.
13. Find the mean, median, mode and range of the -discovery- data. Discuss the results.
14. Students write a summary of what occurred in class today and what they learned. They must include at least one factor that could account for the wide range of results in the activity.


Assessment is based on the completion of the activity sheet. Questions 1, 4, and 6 are 20 points each. Questions 2, 3, and 5 are 5 points each. The summary is 25 points.


Students could take the available data and create one of the different graphs that was previously discussed. (Double bar graph, broken-line graph, or box-and-whisker graph.)

Attached Files

The file is an activity sheet titled: Record "THE" Results     File Extension: pdf

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