EL Support Lesson

Language About Line Plots

Encourage your students to describe line plots and the data they represent using peer supports. Use this lesson as a standalone lesson or as support to the lesson Linking Line Plots and Fractions.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theLinking Line Plots and FractionsLesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theLinking Line Plots and FractionsLesson plan.

Students will be able to create a line plot that includes fractions of a unit.


Students will be able to describe information on a line plot using visuals and sentence frames.

(5 minutes)
Information Gap Cards: Line PlotsInformation Gap Questioning CardsVocabulary Cards: Language and Line PlotsGlossary: Language and Line PlotsTeach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives Reference
  • Display a line plot from the Vocabulary Cards (with the definition and title covered) and have students write on their whiteboards what the the graph is called and what it shows.
  • Ask for volunteers to share their understanding of the graph and create a web with some of the details they share (e.g., has fractions, X's represent number frequency, number line with fractions in order, etc.).
  • Circle the words they say that appear in the Vocabulary Cards worksheet and use them in sentences as you complete the web on the board with the line plot at the centre.
  • Explain to students the visual is a Line plotAnd define it. Explain how it shows the FrequencyIn which the beaker (hold it up with water as a model) is filled with a specific, fractional amount of water. Tell them the water is measured in liters.
  • Tell students that today they will practise describing information on a line plot as a stepping stone to using line plots to help them solve word problems in the future.
(8 minutes)
  • Distribute a sheet of copy paper to each student so they can copy your teacher markings from the board. Recreate the line plot on the board one step at a time, describing the parts and labeling them as you go. Refer to the Vocabulary Cards for the terms that may be helpful in your descriptions and continue to relate the line plot to a beaker filled with water. (Note: if you have enough beakers (nine) you can have a visual demonstration of the fractional amounts of water and how it connects to the line plot.)
  • Ask students to discuss what the line plot looks like, what pieces it has, and how it organizes data. Some sentence stems can include:
    • "The line plot has ____."
    • "Some parts of the line plot are ____."
    • "The line plot shows the unit fractions ____. There is/are ____(number) ____(unit fractions), ____(number) ____(unit fractions), and ____(number) ____(unit fractions)." (e.g., "The line plot shows unit fractions 1/2, 1/3. and 1/5. There are three 1/2, two 1/3, and one 1/5.")
  • Check students' understanding of the vocabulary terms and the location of the terms on a line plot by conducting a simple point game. Say the name of the part of the line plot and have students point to the piece of the line plot they drew on their copy paper. After each term, have students turn to elbow partners to tell them how they know they are pointing to the correct location on the line plot (e.g., "I know that is a ____Because ____.").
(8 minutes)
  • Distribute the question and answer cards from the Information Gap Questioning Cards worksheet and read through the language stems with the students. Have them turn to their elbow partner and take turns rereading the language stems and questions.
  • Refer to the line plot vocabulary card visual and practise asking questions of a volunteer student while the student answers the question. Alternate asking and answering a question with the student until you have talked about all the data on the line plot.
  • Tell students to use their copy paper drawings of the line plot to have the same conversation with their partner, making sure to alternate who asks and answers the question each time.
  • Check students' comprehension by choosing non-volunteers to ask and answer questions.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students they will now conduct an Information Gap Activity where each student will have their own card and they cannot disclose any information on their card unless someone asks for the information specifically. Distribute the pre-cut Info Gap Cards: Line Plots worksheet so that each student gets one card (e.g., a table or a line plot).
  • Have students continue to search for the person who has the card that shares the same information they have on their own card. Instruct them to alternate asking and answering questions using the language from the worksheet Information Gap Questioning Cards (e.g., "I have a line plot. or "I have a table with data listed. The data shows fractions and the frequency that the fractions appear."). Once they know the pairs are not a match, they should move on to another person.
  • Listen to their conversations and write down some of their exemplary language that you can read aloud after students find their partners.
  • Ask students to share their thoughts about the activity and give feedback about the challenges and successes they had throughout the activity (e.g., "It was easy to..." or "It was difficult to...").


  • Allow students to use their home language (L1) or their new language (L2) in all discussions. Provide bilingual reference materials to assist in their vocabulary word acquisition.
  • Encourage them to use the Vocabulary Cards and terms in their conversations and writing. Allow them to draw pictures to support their understanding of the terms.
  • Allow them to practise using the new questions and answers in their L1 before transitioning to their L2.


  • Pair students with mixed ability groups so they can offer explanations and provide feedback to beginning ELs when appropriate.
  • Challenge students to create real-world examples for the data represented in the line plots. Examples can include distances, cooking, measurements of toys, etc.
(7 minutes)
  • Mix up the information gap cards and distribute one table card to each student and have them create a line plot for the table listed on the card on the back of their copy paper sheet.
  • Have students share their line plots with a new partner. Ask students to practise the language they've used throughout the lesson by asking and answering questions using the Info Gap Questioning Cards worksheet.
(2 minutes)
  • Ask students to rate their own understanding of line plots.
  • Tell them to show a thumbs-up if they feel that they understand them, a thumbs-down if they do not understand them, and a thumb to the side if they sort of understand them but would like more practise.

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