ALEX Lesson Plan


Michael Phelps.... or not?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Summer Johnson
System: Roanoke City
School: Roanoke City Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:CCRS
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33183


Michael Phelps.... or not?


This lesson is created to have students compare themselves to Michael Phelps and the features that make him such a good swimmer. Students will measure their height and arm span and graph them on a coordinate graph. Students will then compare their height and arm span to their classmates' to see who might be the best swimmer in the class!

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
MA2015 (2016)
Grade: 6
11 ) Solve real-world and mathematical problems by graphing points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane. Include use of coordinates and absolute value to find distances between points with the same first coordinate or the same second coordinate. [6-NS8]

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
8A2d: Solve problems involving coordinate pairs on the rectangular coordinate system.

NAEP Statement::
8NPO1d: Write or rename rational numbers.

NAEP Statement::
8NPO1e: Recognize, translate or apply multiple representations of rational numbers (fractions, decimals, and percents) in meaningful contexts.

NAEP Statement::
8NPO1h: Order or compare rational numbers (fractions, decimals, percents, or integers) using various models and representations (e.g., number line).

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.6.11 - Graph or identify points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane, given a coordinate plane on graph paper between -10 and 10.

MA2015 (2016)
Grade: 6
25 ) Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates variability in the data related to the question and accounts for it in the answers. [6-SP1]

Example: "How old am I'" is not a statistical question, but "How old are the students in my school'" is a statistical question because one anticipates variability in students' ages.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.6.25- Interpret a simple graph representing statistical data.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will measure, plot, and compare their height and arm span using coordinate graph.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Michael Phelps article link
Chart paper
Tape Measure

This book can be purchased with other data and statistics resources. Extensions to this lesson are included in this text. 

Technology Resources Needed:

Student computers




1.  If students have access to computers, link the article to teacher webpage or share the link in a document. 

Have students open the link and view the pictures and read the article about Michael Phelps. If the students do not have access to computers, the teacher will read the article to the students while showing a picture of Michael Phelps. The article discusses the features that make Michael such a good swimmer, his height and arm span comparison.

2.  Host a class discussion about these features and how they could make someone a better swimmer.

3.  Ask the statistical question, "Are my classmates like Michael Phelps?"


1.  Students will be broken into small groups based on teacher preference.

2.  Each group will be given a tape measure and a piece of chart paper.

3.  Students will take turns measuring each other's heights and arm span while writing the data on a piece of paper. 


1.  The students will be required to create a coordinate grid on the graph paper. Each person in the group will receive a different color marker.

2.  Students should write their name as well as their ordered pair (height, arm span) on the back of the chart paper in the color marker they are using.

3.  Each student is required to plot their own height and arm span in their color on the graph paper. (Make sure you specify whether the height will represent x or y. Armspan will represent the other.) 


Assessment Strategies

Students will be assessed based on the ordered pair they plotted on the graph. The teacher will be checking for accuracy of the ordered pair written beside their name and the plot the graphed. Each student will be held accountable for their own grade because each student has done their own work in his designated color.


Have students collaborate in their group to determine who might be the most like Michael Phelps in the group. Would this person be a good swimmer?



View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.