Measuring Growth Throughout the Year

Digital Camera Activity

Activity developed by Betsy Gaudette-Cross, Golden Oak, and Vera Martin, Fairview School, Visalia, CA

Grade Level:



Collecting data, analyzing and graphing data, autobiographic writing


During the first and last week of school each student will have their picture taken. Print two copies of a form with the photograph on it where the student will also include the following data:
Weight (optional)
Goals for this year
Goals for life

Students will fill out both copies of the form. The teacher will keep one copy and the student will take the other home. The second form is again filled out the last week of school. The students will analyze changes in their own data between the first and last week of school.

Students will then compare and discuss changes in the data between the first and last week of school within their group/class. They will graph the heights and calculate the average gain in height for the class, the girls, and the boys. Each student will then write about other ways in which they have grown during the year.

Note: Caution should be shown about what information to include in the student data. Sensitive data,like weight, can be included if handled in a sensitive way. One teacher reported that when a child's weight was included one year, the parent expressed gratitude to her because it alerted her to the large increase which occurred over the course of the year. She and the child were now working on helping their entire family be more aware of their health and eating habits.


Create a form which has a space for the before and after photos. Include places for their information from the beginning of the year and the end of the year. This will allow them to see their before and after information. This page should be retained by the students in their portfolio.


One student could be chosen at random or by specific criteria as the student of the week. Their data page could be posted in a conspicuous place within the classroom or displayed in a special place on campus.

Data could also be collected at regular intervals, like every quarter, to get a better picture of student growth patterns. Growth data would be included in the student's portfolio.

Students could adopt a plant or animal that is kept in the classroom and make regularly scheduled measurements and photographs which are kept in a journal.