We took some more time today on interpreting graphs and “graphing stories”. Dan Meyer has created a series of 15 second videos that allow students to describe events graphically. This is graphingstories.com and it was exactly what I was looking for!

Students used the pdf given on the site. We did several graphs together as a class and really focused on the starting points (y-intercept), labels, changes in the graph, steepness, etc. While the videos are clear with the seconds ticking by, I was more focused with my students grasping the idea of graph *shape* and what it all means.

I let the students choose the videos, and each class chose completely different ones (I for one, loved the variety!)

In this video, “Balloon Length”, we questioned if it should start at the coordinate (0, 0), and if so, what would that mean? (The balloon would have to be *invisible*!) We watched as a balloon was gradually filled with air, what happened when a breath was taken, and then what happens in the graph at the very end when the balloon is let go and withers away.

I like the way these are set up because the video shows exactly how to set up the axis labels, but still allow the students to draw the graph on their own. The event is first shown in “real-time” speed and then in half speed. I also paused the video to question and discuss as needed. Lots of great conversations.

This activity led them to their assignment where they are to create their *own* story (either written or by video) and display it graphically.

## About Gretchen Simmerson

Middle School math teacher living in Austin, Texas.

Check out how graphing stories.com was used in an 8th grade classroom at Hill Country Middle School! 🙂 Small world!

http://www.mathycathy.com/blog/2013/10/giving-graphingstories-com-a-go/

That’s great! I remember our student teacher here had mentioned that site.