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Lesson plan

Create a Two-Way Table from a Description Lesson Plan


In this lesson, students will learn how to create a two-way table from a description. As a class, students are surveyed so they can see how a two-way table is created. Then, students work together to discuss how to fill in the given information in descriptions, as well as fill in the unknown information. You can expect this lesson with additional practice to take one `45`-minute class period.

Grade 8
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Students will be able to create a two-way table from a description.


  • Teacher slideshow
  • Student Resource: Blank Two-Way Tables
  • Online Practice

How to Teach Creating a Two-way Table From a Description

Collecting data and creating the two-way table

A great way to show students how to create a two-way table is to make one from their data! Start the lesson by taking a class survey. The student resource sheet for this lesson includes a copy of the two-way tables students will work with today.

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Copy these Google Slides for free

Let students know they should only raise their hand if both categories apply to them. Ask each question separately:

  • Raise your hand if you have a pet and play a sport.
  • Raise your hand if you have a pet and do not play a sport.
  • Raise your hand if you do not have a pet and play a sport.
  • Raise your hand if you do not have a pet and do not play a sport.

As you count the hands, fill in the table on the board. As a class, you can add to find the totals.


With the table filled in, ask your students to write at least one thing they notice from the table. There is space under the table on the resource sheet for students to write. Students may identify overall patterns, the group with the highest or lowest frequency, etc. Allow students some time to discuss and review the information in the table.

Fill in a two-way table when given data

With this example, give students a minute to try and fill in what information is given. As students fill in their tables on the resource sheet, circulate to see if there are any students who are putting values in the wrong spot.

When students are ready, have students take turns explaining where they put a value and why. 

Finding missing values

Once students have filled in the given information, ask them if there is enough information to fill in the entire table. Ideally, students will recognize where some values can be filled in, although they may not immediately recognize how all of the values can be found. Explain that creating a two-way table from a description will require students to use their problem-solving skills. Give students a few minutes to work with a partner or table group to see what values they can deduce based on what is given.

Some students may be able to use their problem solving skills to find all of the values. The most common challenge is for students to identify whether to add or subtract and where. For students that are struggling:

  • Tell them to look for a row or column that is only missing one value
  • Are they looking for the total? If so, add to find the total.
  • Are they given the total and looking for another value? If so, subtract the known values from the missing values.

Additional examples

The slideshow and student resource sheet contains a few more examples for students to try. They can work with a partner or table group. Together, they should ideally be able to fill in the table completely. As students work, make sure you listen to their conversations for any misconceptions or confusion. It may be helpful to ask students what patterns they are noticing when they are solving these problems. Depending on how students are doing, you may want to go over the examples as a whole class, or work with small groups. 

Creating a Two-way Table From a Description Practice

After you’ve completed the examples with the whole class, it’s time for some independent practice! ByteLearn gives you access to tons of practice problems for creating a two-way table from a description. Check out the online practice and assign to your students for classwork and/or homework!

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Creating a Two-way Table From a Description Practice
Problem 1 of 5

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