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Lesson Plans
Raising the Bar While Hogging the Ham (Radio, That Is)
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Prep for Teachers

CUE episode #210, "Raising the Bar" to the appropriate starting point, which is the scene in which the Cyberkids and Ms. Fileshare compare Hacker's graph with that of another exterminator.
Bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson. Try the "Bugs in the System" activity on the Cyberchase Web site so that you are certain how it works. Create the transparencies of the Scholastic graphs if you wish.

When using media, provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify before, during, or after viewing video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.

Introductory Activities: Setting the Stage

Step 1:

Bring in a bar graph from a newspaper or magazine. Show the bar graph to your students, and ask them, "What is a bar graph?" (Guide your students to realize that a bar graph is a representation of different values using bars. The height of the bar indicates the amount in a given category.) When and why would someone want to use a bar graph? (When you want to compare values of different things easily and at a glance.)

Have students look at the bar graphs on favorite sports to compete in and favorite sports to watch, viewed or downloaded from http://teacher.scholastic.com/kidusasu/favsport/resfsc.htm and http://teacher.scholastic.com/kidusasu/favsport/resfsw.htm. A transparency can be shown and/or you can also distribute copies of the graphs to each student. Ask students to discuss the graphs. Emphasize that numbers have to appear on the bar graphs, and that the scale used on the vertical, or y-axis, has to be the same to compare two or more bar graphs visually and quickly.

Ask the students how the graphs are similar and how they are different. (Answer: The same sports are listed. Those same sports appear in the same order on both bar graphs. The same scale of increments of 50 going up to 600 is used of those surveyed. The difference is in the numbers for each. The green bar is highest showing that basketball is the favorite sport to watch. In terms of competing, the bar representing "Other" is tallest. Without having to even see the numbers, the top choice for each category is obvious. Favorites for watching are not the same as favorites for competing in.)

Step 2:

Students can also be asked to discuss school uniforms. There are some schools that have voted to have them. Have students imagine that uniforms have been selected for use in their school. What colors would they want their uniforms to be? Scholastic readers voiced their opinions on what colors they would choose if they had to have uniforms and this is the results of that vote. Distribute the bar graph from Scholastic reflecting a vote on school uniform colors. This graph can be viewed or downloaded from: http://teacher.scholastic.com/kidusasu/uniforms/chart3.htm Students should also realize that a bar graph represents the amount in a given category. Each color is represented by a different bar and the height represents the number voting for that color.

Step 3:

Ask your students: What information appears in this bar graph? (Answer: The number of votes increases in increments of 50 up to 500 votes and the colors voters liked including Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow, Black and Other. "Other" includes: Purple, Teal, Brown, Orange and Gold.) How is it organized? (Votes are by gender: Male and Female.) What are the favorite colors of males and females? (Both males and females prefer black. Black received the most votes and the bars are tallest for black, making it visually easy to spot the answer.) Other types of graphs and charts involving Scholastic surveys on a variety of issues (for further class discussion) can be found at:
http://teacher.scholastic.com/ilp/index.asp?SubjectID=3&SubheadID=32&TopicID=78.

Step 4:

Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking students to describe how Hacker convinces Ms. Fileshare that he should be hired to exterminate the Cybrary. PLAY the tape from the opening of the episode with Ms. Fileshare saying, "The cybrary is the place to go when you need to know." PAUSE the tape when you hear Buzz and Delete say, "We're in, Boss. Your plan worked." Check for comprehension by asking students how Hacker convinced Ms. Fileshare. (Hacker convinced Ms. Flieshare by showing her a bar graph comparing the number of bugs that he--as "The Vermin Vexer"--has exterminated. He compares his graph to another exterminator, and it appears as though he has exterminated many more bugs) Ask your students what the first thing you notice is when you look at a bar graph (the height of the bars). REWIND the tape until you see a clear image of Hacker's bar graph showing the bugs that the Vermin Vexer has caught. PAUSE video. Ask your students what is missing from Hacker's graph? What was on the Scholastic graphs that is missing from Hacker's? (There are no numbers on the y-axis, so there is no way to judge the scale of the graph.)


Learning Activities

Step 1:

Explain that in the "Raising the Bar" episode, the Cyberkids have to convince Ms. Fileshare that the cybrary has more bugs that she realizes. CUE the video to the point where Inez states that "Things are getting worse." Provide the students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to determine how the Cyberchase kids' use Digit's idea of stacking library carts to convince Ms. Fileshare? PAUSE the video when Ms. Fileshare says, "I'm convinced. Come with me." Check for comprehension, and ask students how the Cyberchase kids' used Digit's idea. (Answer: Digit used a visual way of easily showing a comparison of numbers when he showed how much work he did compared to the others. It is presented in a bar graph form. The Cyberchase kids then make their own bar graph to convince Ms. Fileshare..) Ask students how Matt shows how many bugs are in the cybrary? How did they take that chart to Ms. Fileshare? Which section of the cybrary has the most bugs? What is Ms. Fileshare's reaction to Matt's evidence? (Answer: Matt stacks the library carts to show how many bugs were in each part of the library. Inez makes a portable version of Matt's graph, which is a bar graph, to take to Ms. Fileshare. The history section has the most bugs. Ms. Fileshare is now convinced that the cybrary has a bug problem. ) If necessary, REWIND to confirm answers or allow students more time to obtain the information.

Step 2:

Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking students to explain why Ms. Fileshare doesn't think that the bug problem is as big as the Cyberchase kids do. PLAY from the previous pause point until you see Matt say, "She won't believe anything I say ever again. PAUSE the video. Check for comprehension, and ask your students why Ms. Fileshare doesn't think the problem is very big. (Hacker showed her a graph that made the bug problem look very small.) Again, ask your students what both Hacker and the Cyberchase kids left off of their graphs (There are no numbers on the y-axis, and no scale to the graph.) CUE the video until you see Jackie hold out her arms and say, "Hold on, make room, I gotta pace." Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to determine how the Cyberkids figure out how that Hacker manipulated the bar graph using the correct numbers to hide the truth? PLAY the tape. PAUSE the video clip when Matt says, "He didn't have to, he wanted to, to hide the truth." Check for comprehension, asking students how the Cyberchase kids determined that Hacker manipulated the bar graph. (They compare scales. Their scale on their bar graph goes up to 14 which is the most bugs caught. Hacker's scale goes up to 105,in increments of 15, so when he makes a bar graph with 14 bugs caught, it appears very small.)

Step 3:

Bianca, in Cyberchase for Real, wants to be employee of the month. Both she and Harry have been selling refreshments at the movie theater and use bar graphs to show how successful they have been. Both have the same amount of sales, but the bars on Harry's graph looks much taller. Bianca has to figure out why hers appears so short, giving the impression that she has not sold as many refreshments. CUE the video to the beginning of the Cyberchase for Real segment. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking, "How does Bianca fix her bar graph to reflect that she also has $4000 in sales?" Have students discuss what needs to be done so that both graphs appear the same. That way they can both win the free movie tickets? PLAY the videotape until you see Bianca holding up her new graph with Harry's showing that each sold $4000. PAUSE the videotape. Check for comprehension by having students respond with answers. (ANSWER: Bianca showed the theater manager that she and Harry were both successful and should both be Employee of the Month in refreshment sales by saying that her bar graph had a smaller scale than Harry's. The scales were different, and that made the bar graphs look different. They both actually sold the same number of refreshment sales and both were winners.) REWIND if necessary to obtain the correct answer.

Step 4:

Ask your students to log on to the Cyberchase: Bugs in the System site at http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/games/bargraphs/bargraphs.html. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking your students to complete the activity on the site, and get rid of the bugs in each room of the cybrary. After your students have completed the activity, ask your students what made the activity challenging? Why was it sometimes necessary to use the graph scaler? (Student answers will vary.)


Cross-Curricilar Extensions

Step 1:

Tell students that there is a problem on the International Space Station (ISS). The astronauts on the International Space Station are using the ham radio to speak live with their families. However, Mission Control believes that the astronauts are making too many calls, and this chatty behavior is costing NASA a fortune. The astronauts and Mission Control officials must each present their case to Congress in the form of a bar graph to support their argument. The Mission Control officials must convince Congress that the astronauts are making too many ham radio calls. The astronauts must convince Congress that they are not making too many ham radio calls. Each group will be making a graph based on the same data.

Step 2:

Write the following data on the board. Tell students that the data reflects the names of astronauts and the number of phone calls each astronauts made during a one month period:
Peggy Whitson: 12 calls
Chris Hadfield: 15 calls
Sally Ride: 23 calls
Ellen Baker: 17 calls
Michael Foale: 25 calls
Ed Lu: 13 calls

Step 3:

Divide your class into groups of four students. Within each group, ask two students to assume the role of astronauts and two students to assume the role of Mission Control officials. Ask a student to again explain what the goal of the astronauts is (The astronauts' goal is to create a bar graph that will convince Congress that they are not making too many ham radio calls.) Ask another student to explain what the goal of the Mission Control officials is (The Mission Control officials' goal is to create a bar graph that will convince Congress that the astronauts are making too many ham radio calls.)

Step 4:

Ask your students how the astronauts might make a bar graph using the data that will look like the astronauts are making very few ham radio calls (The astronauts should use a scale on the y-axis that uses much larger number numbers than the number of ham radio calls. For example, make the scale go from 1 to 100, increasing in increments of 10. If students cannot describe this concept, ask them to recall what Hacker did to make it look as though he did a good job exterminating the bugs in the cybrary.)

Step 5:

Ask your students how the Mission Control officials might make a bar graph using that data that will look like the astronauts are making a lot of ham radio calls (The Mission Control officials should use a smaller scale on the y-axis, to make the number of calls appear larger. For example make the scale go from 0 to 26, increasing in increments of one.)

Step 6:

Distribute graph paper to your students. Ask your students to create a graph based on the role they are playing.

Step 7:

After students have completed their graphs, ask all of the astronauts to come up to the front of the room and display their graphs. In role as a member of Congress, react to the information as it is presented on the astronauts' graphs (If the astronauts have done their job, the graph will appear as though very few phone calls were made.)

Step 8:

Ask all of the Mission Control officials to come up to the front of the room and display their graphs. In role as a member of Congress, react to the information as it is presented on the Mission Control graphs. (If the officials have done their job, the graph will appear as though a lot of phone calls were made.)

Step 9:

As a member of Congress, ask your students to explain to you why the data on the two different sets of graphs appears so different on each set of graphs? How can the data be presented more equally?

Step 10:

Ask your students to log on to the Bar Graph Creator Web site at http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/graphing/bar.asp. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking your students to create a bar graph that displays the astronauts' phone call data fairly.


Cross-Curricilar Extensions

Science – Ask students to use a bar graph to track high and low temperatures in their city for a week.

Social Studies and current events – Ask students to collect various cell phone advertisements and graph either the cost of the plans or monthly minutes.

English/Language Arts- Ask students to do a survey and make a bar graph of the most popular types of books the class reads. Categories might be mystery, science fiction, adventure, sports or animals.


Community Connections

Ask a Ham Radio enthusiast to come in to your classroom and discuss their hobby, costs involved, etc.

Collect graphs from newspapers and magazines to track how bar graphs are used in the media. Display them on the bulletin board.

Work with the school cafeteria staff to track data on the number of meals sold in the cafeteria each day for a week. Create bar graphs based on the data.