Sea Turtles and You

Graph Lesson

Sea Turtles and You Home













Objective – Create line graphs, bar graph (horizontal & vertical) & pie (circle graph) chart using turtle nesting data.

Rationale – The Information Age has produced a multitude of reading material for all ages. Learning how to read and understand graphs will decrease the amount of time necessary to disseminate information.

Getting Started – Provide simple graphs or have students look for graphs in newspapers, textbooks, etc. and share with other students.

Lesson - Use the overhead projector. Plot a simple line graph using data from 1995-2004. Specifically, plot the number of Loggerhead Turtles nests found on South Walton Beaches from 1995 to 1997. 


1995 – 39 nests
1996 – 42 nests
1997 – 54 nests

Draw a large L at the left bottom corner of your page on the overhead transparency. (If you can use graph paper on a transparency, it is easier to demonstrate.) Leave adequate room on the left to label the number of nests and adequate room on the bottom to label the year. The horizontal line is the X axis and the vertical Line is the Y axis. 

Discuss how to chose the value of each line moving up the Y axis. First, look at the largest number of nests. In this case, the number is 54. You do not have enough space for each line to represent each nest. Tell the students that together the class will decide the value for each line that will still leave enough room on the paper to show your value. 

In this case, it may be easier to use each line to represent 10 nests. Mark the numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 on the left side (Y axis) of the graph. Title the left side of the graph “Number of Nests”. 
On the bottom of the graph (X axis), mark the 3 years, 1995, 1996, and 1997. Title the bottom as “Years”.

Locate the value of 39 (just below the 40 mark) and place a dot that corresponds with 1995. Continue with 42 & 1996. Then graph 54 & 1997. Connect the dots.

Complete the rectangle and title the graph, “Sea Turtle Nests on South Walton Beaches”. 
Repeat the lesson to create a vertical bar graph (you may want to use different data) and a horizontal bar graph. 

Technology – The students will learn how to create the same graphs on the computer using Excel. 

You may create a pie chart using the different kinds of nests found in the data from 2004 and 2005. 

Written by Lynn Abbit








South Walton Turtle Watch

Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program

Van R. Butler Elementary School












Last Updated: 2/06