Literature Connection:

The Great Turkey Walk, by Kathleen Karr

Mathematical Strand:

Data and Probability


Students will formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them. They will create bar graphs and pie graphs

Grade Level:


Lesson Created by:

Toni Haddock, Eugene Field Elementary, Manhattan, KS

Lesson Description:


  • The Great Turkey Walk, by Kathleen Karr, maps of Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado,paper, Excel computer program (could have students create graphs by hand.)

1. Launching the Lesson (engage): Read and discuss several chapters of the book, discussing story elements such as characters, setting, and plot. Students need some background in order to come up with interesting questions.

2. Developing the Lesson: Ask Students: In what state were you born? List states on the board and make tally marks. Go around the room in an orderly fashion to model organized data collection. Assign groups of four to brainstorm questions related to the story. Tell them not to ask yes or no questions. Remind them to give choices to simplify data collection. After each group comes up with a question, allow time to pass questions around the room. Each child marks a tally by the answer they choose. Use the example question: In what state were you born? To show students how to make pie and bar graphs on Excel. Let groups create graphs from their own data.

3. Closure/ Discussion/ Elaboration: After all graphs are complete, discuss the results. Ask questions such as: Which has the most or fewest? Which graph is more helpful to analyzing the data? Figure the mean, median, mode and range. Ask students to make predictions based on their data.

4. This book is about a boy who buys turkeys, walks them from Missouri to Colorado, and sells them for a large profit. There are many opportunities to figure his purchase price and selling price. Students can subtract his initial investment and the amount he offers his assistants. They can refigure when a few turkeys are lost along the way. There is also another opportunity to discuss ounces, pints, quarts, gallons, and their relationships. Students can also use map grids to find the travel route of the turkeys.

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Copyright 2001 S.Ma.R.T.Books and Kansas State University