Graphing the Value

6, 7, 8

In this lesson, students explore the relative value of items to recognize that what is not valuable to them might be valued by someone else. They collect data related to the traded items in the South Asian Indian folktale "The Drum." They calculate means and averages and create line graphs, stem and leaf plots, and box-and-whisker plots. Students analyze their data and compare the actual value of items to the relative value perceived in the context.

PrintTwo 45-minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • compare and contrast wants and needs and define relative value.
  • collect data and use it to create a stem and leaf plot, a box-and-whisker plot, means, and averages.
  • graph the data using a line graph.
  • calculate the range for the data.
  • answer questions based on the data.
  • draw conclusions based on the data.
  • graphing supplies/paper
  • calculator
  • Folktales from India"The Drum" /resources/drum
  • Internet access (or collected newspaper advertisement sections, store flyers, and catalogs with prices)
  • student copies of Handout One: Bicycle Price List
  • student copies of Handout Two: Assessment
  • teacher copy of Handout Three: Assessment Answer Key
  • Optional adaptations on the Assessment: student copies of Handout Four: Assessment Two (for students with special learning needs) or Handout Six: G and T Assessment (See Extensions)
Home Connection 

Lesson Five includes a family night. Students may present their data at that event.


An Indian folktale "The Drum" /resources/drum

 Stem and leaf plot reference site:

 Box and whisker plot reference site:



  1. Day One:

    Teacher Note: It is assumed that the basic mechanics have been previously introduced of how to create a stem and leaf plot, create a box and whisker plot, do linear graphing, and calculate means and averages.

    Anticipatory set:Ask the students to think of a personal possession they value. (They don't need to share it out loud.) Have them think about what the item costs at the store vs. what value it has to them (can they put a price on it?). Tell them that their feelings about an object make it more valuable to them. This describes its relative value.

  2. Remind the students of the folktale "The Drum." Display a copy of Handout One: From Worthless to Priceless from Lesson Two: Show Me NO Money. Ask for volunteers to summarize thestory in a couple sentences. Say, "Each of these pictured items had a value to a character that was greater than its monetary value. The value was relative to the situation and the person's needs and wants." Discuss what made the items valuable to the person in the story.

  3. Discuss the meaning of relative value in different situations (e.g., the first piece of pizza when you are hungry compared to a slice after you have been eating for a while or the value of a bicycle to a boy in Kenya riding to get water for his family compared to the value of a bicycle to a boy in Iowa riding to play video games at a friend's house.)

  4. Discuss how wants and needs affect relative value. Lead a discussion about how the boy acted with compassion and honored the needs of others over his own wants. Have the students brainstorm things that they can give up that have more relative value to someone else (or "worthless to them and priceless to others").

  5. Post pictures of the six story items (stick, bread, pan, coat, horse, drum)around theroom and have students separate themselves into the six groups. Tell them that each group will determine the value of its selected item.

  6. Give each group a copy of Handout One: Bicycle Price List. Tell them that this list shows collected data about the price of bicycles. Since bicycles have a range of prices, this list will help them determine the average cost. The data from this list can be used to calculate averages and the median, and to create graphs and plots. Introduce and review vocabulary terms such as mean, median, average, and range. Discuss the different types of plots as a quick review. Tell the students that in the next class period, they will conduct research to make a price list for their selected item.

  7. Day Two:

    Anticipatory Set: Tell the students that a group of students was planning to volunteer at a local shelter to fit donated shoes on school children. The shelter asked volunteers to hold a sock drive to collect lots of pairs of socks for the days of shoe fitting. The students collected money from family members and local businesses to buy socks. With the money, they wanted to get the best socks they could get for the best price. In order to do that, the students decided to look at a variety of sock prices and find the mean price. They decided that the sock choice with the mean value would be the best value for good quality. They purchased as many of this brand of sock as they could with the donated money. Ask the students if this seems like a wise method for spending the capital. Tell them they are going to do a similar analysis today.

  8. Tell the students to move into the groups they formed in the previous lesson. Each group will develop a sample price list for their assigned item. For example, the stick group will find a variety of prices for sticks (from free twigs to purchased sticks of a variety of types). They will find at least five examples for their sample list.

  9. Groups will research prices for their item on the Internet. Teacher Note: As an alternative, students may find prices from a variety of story flyers and advertisement sections from the newspaper.

  10. As a group (sharing responsibilities) they will use their collected data to calculate an average price for their item and create the following:

    • create a stem and leaf plot
    • create a box-and-whisker plot
    • plot a line graph from their data
    • find the median price and assign the mean value price to their item in the story
    • post the mean value of their item on the board (e.g., Coat $40.39)
    • Using all of the class mean value data posted on the board, they will calculate the average value of all six items.
    • Using all of the class data on the board, students calculate the percentage value of each item in the series.
    • Using all of the class data on the board, students calculate the ratio of the value of each gift to the value of another gift.
  11. As a whole class, the students develop conclusions relating the monetary value of the items to their true worth as perceived by the receiver in "The Drum."


The accuracy of the calculations and graphs and plots from the group work serve as the authentic assessment for the lesson. As an assessment of understanding of the graphing skills, give each student Handout Two: Student Assessment. Using a given set of data, the learner will be able to create stem and leaf plots and box-and-whisker plots. plot the data on a line graph. calculate the range for the data. Handouts Four and Six offer variations on the assessment. Handout Four: Assessment Two offers simpler data for students with special learning needs. Handout Six: G and T Assessment offers more complex data for students with higher ability. Handouts Five and Seven provide the answer keys for the corresponding assessments.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define and give examples of the motivations for giving and serving.
      2. Benchmark MS.9 Identify pro-social behavior in different cultures and traditions.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.