My students really struggle with creating their own graphs as well as communicating in written form the data presented in a graph. This activity was actually inspired by a TV show about people sharing secrets over cookies and milk while discussing the various ways people eat Oreos. The activity is cross-curricular and involves students in the full writing process, as well as speaking, data collection, graphing, and drawing conclusions. My students really seem to enjoy this graphing activity more than others we have done...but of course that may just be because they get to eat cookies!
I recently expanded this project to include the scientific method. I spent two weeks on the topic with my eighth graders and they could list the steps in order but I felt they weren't fully grasping the underlying concepts. I decided to add a page to help them utilize the scientific method for this project. The survey became the experiment, the graphing of data the analyzing of data, and they published their results by writing a short essay that included descriptions of the various methods of consumption.
By request of our math teacher, I've expanded this project once again. It seems that our students believed that 15 votes = 15%, even though they only had 57 votes total! Ooops, not very mathematically accurate. I added a graphic organizer to help them turn their data into fractions, then decimals, and finally percents. We then went back and added pie charts to our final projects.
One project + 3 happy teachers (ELA, math, science) = 1 very happy ESL teacher!