Computer Skills Curriculum
Database Lesson Plan

Title: Graphing Data for Nutritional Comparisons

Other Curriculum Objectives that can be addressed by this lesson plan
English Language Arts 2.1, 2.2, 4.1; Mathematics: (Gr. 6) 5.4, 6.1, 6.3, 6.5; Computer Skills: (Gr. 5) 2.2, (Gr. 6) 3.3; Information Skills 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2

Grade: 6
Competency 3.3: Use commercial software to organize and visually display data to draw conclusions.

Measure 3.3.2: Use a graphing program to enter data for nutritional comparisons of snack foods (e.g., fat content, caloric value, sodium content). Display results and determine the most nutritional snack foods.

Materials Needed: Pre-Activity: Two sets of content panels from the box of each of 3 different dry cereals. Activity: Computer graphing program; two charts per Figure 1; two sets of content panels from the packaging of 4 snack foods.

Time: One class session.

Terms: Database, Sort, Search, Report



Pre-computer Activity:

  • 1. Divide the class into two groups and provide each group with a set of the dry cereal content panels.
  • 2. Have the students make bar graphs to compare the content amounts of the different cereals. (One graph for each content group such as calories, comparing that content group for all 3 cereals.)
  • 3. Discuss what type of conclusions or observations are easier to make using the graphs than could have been drawn by reading the content panels.

Computer Activity:

  • 1. Set up a computer system with a graphing program and printer as a "check station" for each group of the pre-computer activity.
  • 2. Have each group use the graphs made in the pre-computer activity to enter data in the graphing program and print the resulting bar graph. Display on the bulletin board the graphs of similar content types generated by the two groups.
  • 3. Provide each group with a chart to complete to determine which is the most nutritional cereal. Label the columns "Cereal," "Fat," "Calories," "Cholesterol," and "Carbohydrates." Have the students in each group complete the chart.

    Figure 1

  • 4. Ask each group to decide which cereal they think is the most nutritional.
  • 5. Have the two groups report their decison on the most nutritional cereal and the entire class discuss how the information from the graphs helped them make their decision.


List 4 snack food names on the board or overhead. Have the students in two large groups agree on and write down their hypothesis as to the most nutritional of the four snack foods. Give each group a copy of the content panel from each of the 4 snack foods. Have them use the computer system to enter and print a graph to compare the fat content in the four snack foods. Ask the students to compare the graphed data to their hypothesis and decide if the graph supports their hypothesis. If time allows, or for extra credit, have the students graph all the contents to determine if their hypothesis was correct.