For kids who like cars, trucks, and trains, nearly every activity involving these vehicles is sure to be entertaining. Things That Go from iStoryBooks.com is full of cars, trucks, and other vehicles used to help people get around. After reading the book with students, you can use the vehicles in the book to teach kids about classifying and graphing.
Start by printing out pictures of the different vehicles represented in the book. They don’t have to be the exact pictures from the book as long as the same types of vehicles are represented. If you laminate the pictures, you can use them for multiple activities without worrying about them ripping.
After printing out the pictures of the vehicles, hold up a few of the vehicles for kids and talk about the traits of each vehicle. For example, if you hold up a red race car, kids may point out that the car is red, that the car is fast, or that the car drives on land. Once kids have helped describe a few of the vehicles, on the board or a piece of chart paper, list some of the different types of traits kids mentioned. Some traits may include:
- Land, Air, or Water
Have students choose a category to work with, and break that category down into subcategories. For example, if students choose the category “Speed,” you could break it down into “Fast, Average, and Slow.”
Hold up each of the different vehicles and have students decide which subcategory it fits into. For example, a garbage truck may be classified as slow because it has to stop and pick up trash, but an airplane may be classified as fast because it can get people places quickly. Tape the picture of the vehicle next to the subcategory or make a tally mark to show that a vehicle fits the category.
After classifying the vehicles (you can classify all of them or only classify 10-15 of them), show students how to turn the data from the classification into a graph. For younger students, you may simply have them draw dots or place vehicle stickers in a line next to each subcategory. For older students, have students create an X and Y axis and actually label the graph with the different parts. For example, if your category was colors, you would list each color on the X axis and the number of cars on the Y axis.
Once students learn how to graph, you can extend the learning by having them classify and graph other items. In keeping with the car theme, you may have students graph the types of cars they see while on the school bus or while looking out the window of the school. You may also have students graph the colors they find in a package of car-shaped fruit snacks or that they dump out of a bag of toy cars.