February 23, 2019
By Kerry McKee

EL Support Lesson

Pet Survey

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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Graphing a Fruit SurveyLesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Graphing a Fruit SurveyLesson plan.

Students will be able to collect and represent data on a bar graph.


Students will be able to express an opinion and create a graph that represents the preferences of their classmates, using visual and sentence frame support.

(5 minutes)
  • Tell students to imagine that they can choose either a dog, a cat, or a fish as a pet. If they already have one of these pets, tell them to think about their opinion of this pet. Do they prefer the pet they have, or would they rather have a different pet?
  • Display the sentence frame, "A ____Is a good pet because ____."
  • Follow a turn-and-talk protocol, and instruct students to sit knee to knee with a partner. Have students share reasons why each animal would make a good pet with a partner.
  • Call the class back together and write the three categories on the board: Cat, Fish and Dog.
  • Brainstorm with the class about possible reasons why a person might choose each pet. For example, a dog plays fetch, cats do not need to be taken for walks, and fish are fun to watch.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that today the class will create a SurveyTo learn about one another's OpinionsAbout which pet would be best for them. They will collect Data,And display the data using a Bar graph.
  • The data will show which pet is the MostPopular, and which pet is the LeastPopular.
  • Students will also learn how many MoreStudents prefer one type of pet than another.
  • Display Vocabulary Cards and allow students time to record vocabulary in the Bilingual Glossary (optional).
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute the Pet Choice Survey Worksheet and have students set up the survey. Title the survey "Pet Choice" and have them list the pets on the bottom of the graph. Tell students that these are the three categories they will choose from.
  • Instruct students to write the survey question at the top: "Which pet would you choose: dog, cat or fish?"
  • Display the sentence frame, "I would choose a ____."
  • Project the worksheet and model asking a few students the survey question, coloring one square on the Survey Worksheet to reflect each response. Prompt students to use a complete sentence in their response.
(15 minutes)
  • Assign students to small groups of four, and follow a Numbered Heads Together protocol. Each student in the group counts off so there is a number one, two, three, and four in each group.
  • Pose the question of which of the three pets is best to the groups. Each student should tell the rest of the group their preferred pet and supply a reason. Then, the students in the group should put their heads together as they work to record each group member's preferred pet on the Survey Worksheet. All students in the group should be prepared to report on the findings of the group.
  • Call a random number between one and four. The student who is that number in the group will be the reporter. The reporter cannot talk to other group members, but can use the data from the graph to tell you how many votes each pet got in the group.
  • As reporters from each group share out, record the totals for each group on a projected Survey Worksheet or chart paper. After each group has reported, students can update their graphs to show data for the entire class.


  • Prefill the survey title and question on the Survey Worksheet.
  • Groups students at various levels of English-language proficiency together. Group ELs with supportive peers that have more developed English-language skills.


  • During Guided practise, provide a more complex sentence frame: "I would choose ____Because ____."
  • Teach students that FishIs an irregular plural. We say two dogs or two cats. Point out that we do not add an "s" to form the plural of fish. We say, "There are two fish swimming in the fish tank (not two fishes)."
(5 minutes)
  • Listen as students work in their small groups. Check that students are able to answer the survey question using a complete sentence, and represent data on the bar graph.
  • Analyze the data as a class. Ask guiding questions such as, "Which pet do most students prefer?" and "Which is the least popular pet?"
  • Ask students, "How many more students would prefer a dog than a fish?"
  • Encourage students to share strategies for answering this question. Point out that although we are asking about "more," we are not adding. We want to know the difference between the number of students who prefer each pet, so we will need to subtract. Circle the portion of the bar graph that shows how many more students prefer one pet than another.
(5 minutes)
  • Revisit the original brainstorm where students discussed reasons why a person might choose each pet.
  • Allow students to brainstorm with a partner other survey ideas. Choose a few volunteers to share ideas.

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