Search form

The Graph Club Reviews


This review reflects the observations and experiences of independent teacher volunteers, and is provided as a service to Education World readers. The review in no way constitutes an endorsement of the product or its manufacturer by those teachers or by Education World.


The Graph Club, a product of Tom Snyder Productions, is a graphing program for students in grades K-4. The software allows students to create tables, as well as colorful picture, bar, line, and circle graphs.

Recently, Education World asked five reviewers, all teachers or educational technology specialists, to check out The Graph Club with real students in actual classroom situations. Each teacher was asked to use The Graph Club with his or her students for a period of at least one month, note specific strengths, weaknesses, and/or quirks of the program, record personal observations or suggestions -- both positive and negative -- and rate the software on a scale of 1-4.

The results are in -- and this is what our reviewers had to say!



overall chart

Click for a detailed ED-u-rate chart.

"I would highly recommend this program -- it's the perfect tool to help primary students as they work with beginning graphing concepts and then learn to construct their own graphs using authentic data collected from curriculum projects."

"Teachers can meet NTCM standards through the use of The Graph Club. They can also easily integrate reading, writing, science, or social studies curriculum with math through the use of the included bibliography and sample lessons."

"Students can work in English and/or Spanish, which is an advantage to those schools whose population is bilingual."

"This program offers a good way to extend student's knowledge of graphing. My students enjoy gathering data and The Graph Club allowed them to create graphs with ease. They were engaged and motivated by it. I would encourage anyone in grades 1 through 5 to buy it!"


Join Discussion


You Review Software

Do you agree with our reviewers' rating of The Graph Club? Share your thoughts on an Education World message board.


"I might recommend that a teacher have one copy per classroom at grades K-2. I'm afraid it would be too simplistic and too repetitive if all K-4 teachers in a school used it extensively."

"This is an excellent software resource for the elementary level."

"This program is very easy to use, clearly helps young students understand how to visualize and interpret the meaning of data, and provides many modes of creative use. Teachers will find the program a "quick learn" as the guide is well-written, clear, and full of helpful ideas and resources."

"The higher level thinking skill of analysis and interpretation of graphs is emphasized. This is a critical skill, which is often de-emphasized."

"I have seen few elementary level graphing programs that are this user-friendly and challenging. The Graph Club has huge potential impact on helping mathematics become more understandable for the primary level student."

"I would recommend this program for independent use by 3rd and 4th graders. My first graders needed a lot of teacher intervention and group work. "

"One of the best features of the program is the ability to quickly move from one type of graph to another. Projecting graphs on our classroom TV monitor was well received by students. They enjoyed the "whoosh" sound effect. They also liked the pictures used to create the graphs. The icon sets and symbols fit in well with the themes used in first grade."

Go to the detailed ED-u-rate chart.


"The Graph Club was very easy to use on an iMac. No installation was necessary on a single computer as the entire program is run from the CD. The technology aide at school reported that the installation on the server was also simple to accomplish."

"Installation was so easy, I didn't even read the directions!"

"The install instructions are very brief and do not note if the program completely installs or will need the CD-ROM in the drive during use. I discovered that the CD-ROM needs to be in the drive during use, which is a disadvantage but fairly common. The program installs within a minute or two and provides a desktop shortcut (Windows) and access via the Program list. There are several guides and supplemental materials available on the CD-ROM in PDF format. You may choose to install Adobe Reader (necessary for PDF type files) if you do not have this installed on your computer."

Go to the detailed ED-u-rate chart.


"The teacher binder is very user-friendly; it helped me learn the program very quickly. I also used it as a reference when students were learning, and then working on, The Graph Club."

"In the first session with students, I did a demo lesson. Then we made a weather graph together. In the second session, we looked at the different features of the program (choosing symbols, colors, patterns, and labeling), and then made a graph of favorite ice-cream flavors together. We also explored the different graph types available and students chose which types they wanted to print. In the third session, students were able to work fairly independently on making individual graphs to represent the number of Skittles in small bags. This activity was connected to a telecollaborative Internet project with which they were involved. Their graphs are posted at Skittles Challenge 2002. In later lessons, students were free to explore the other modes but preferred to construct their own graphs in the Create mode."

"I made students copies of the icons available in the teacher binder so they could refer to the handout as they created their graphs. Otherwise, they spent a lot of time looking for icons that fit the data for their graphs. "

"Students can import other icons into The Graph Club by using Copy/Paste from the Edit menu. However, they would have to have a paint or draw program open to an icon, copy it to the iMac Scrapbook, open The Graph Club, paste from the Scrapbook -- which changes the cursor to the icon, then click on the icon bin to drop it in. That's a lot of steps for a primary student! Unfortunately, the imported icons cannot be saved in the program itself, so the multi-step process would have to be repeated each time students used the program. The ability to click and drag in additional icons would be a great improvement in the usability of this program."

"The program is clearly grade-level appropriate. Students are engaged by the opening show -- mine asked me to play it over and over. I believe that new symbols can be imported from other drawing programs, which would really extend its usage. I did not explore this option with my second graders."

"To be used by students independently, this program would need detailed explanation or demonstration at first for each of the four modes. The last mode, especially, would be better for a class graphing activity than an individual one."

"The Graph Club is very user-friendly for elementary grade level children. The use of engaging characters, Fizz and Martina, catches the students' attention right from the Introduction screens. There are four main modes or selections to choose: Explore, Match, Create, and Guess, making it easy for students to navigate. Students need to have basic mouse skills of select, click, drag and drop, and double-click to use the program. Inputting titles and labels on graphs requires basic keyboarding skills, which very young children (Kindergarten-second grade) may find difficult."

"The program did not require any additional plug-ins, but there is a curriculum unit available for purchase at an additional price ($59.95) called The Graph Club Curriculum Kit. This kit includes an original chapter book called Fizz & Martina's Incredible Not-For-Profit Pet Mystery, a template disk of graphing activities, Activities Guide, lesson plans and 28 student workbooks."

"The program is customizable through the Teacher Options (accessible by using a certain combination of keys) found in the Special Menu. Options include limiting the types of graphs used, changing sound preferences, and allowing multiple graph sets to be opened."

"The program also has a convenient option for Spanish language. Students in grades three and four will have little problem navigating and utilizing the various modes after the initial teacher-led introductory sessions. Younger students will likely need assistance when using the program, choosing new symbols, interpreting the meaning of graphs, and changing modes of use."

"In match games and some other activities, it would be less confusing for young students if the icons on the top were directly over the icons on the bottom."

"This software would be difficult for average first grade students to use independently, although independent use by gifted/talented first graders is a possibility."

Go to the detailed ED-u-rate chart.


"Students were able to navigate this program with no problems. The combination of images and text made for a very kid-friendly format. Students were easily able to work independently, due to common elements in each mode and on each graph."

"No problems were encountered during the review period. The program loads within a reasonable amount of time and the multimedia components do not detract from the program load time or use. Navigation is fairly simple, but there are steps such as resizing windows (dragging from the edge using the double arrow), moving windows around, understanding how to use the symbol options, and labeling of graphs that will require adult assistance for the younger students. Teachers should be sure to demonstrate these steps and have students practice their navigation techniques."

"For use with first graders, icons need to be more eye-catching and look like what they are used for; for example, a stop sign instead of the word Quit."

Go to the detailed ED-u-rate chart.


"This program got the 'ooh, aah' response from my students when I first demonstrated how to use it. Students had already had lessons in math, science, and social studies on using graphs to show data so they had background knowledge; we could dive right into building graphs together, and then independently. They liked having the ability to individualize graphs and I liked the limited number of choices they had -- it saved time with students who have a difficult time with too many choices!"

"Students were very engaged -- it was very quiet as they were working. They had a balance of free choice activities and specific graphing activities to work on, so they did not get tired of using the program. They were excited about sharing their graphs with their classmates and taking their printouts home to share with their families."

"We posted our Skittles graphs outside the classroom to share information from the Skittles Challenge 2002 project. The graphs got a lot of attention from students and teachers from other classrooms, as well as from adults during parent-teacher conferences."

"I feel that The Graph Club is very appropriate for students in grades one through three and may also be useful for special-needs students in grades four and up."

"This is a program that I would use a few times throughout the year to reinforce the concept of graphing. I would not use it more than three or four times in second grade."

"I don't feel that I would use graphing to try to teach so many objectives in so many different subject areas. It is possible with this program, but graphing has limited appeal after a while, I think."

"This program is an excellent resource for understanding and interpreting simple graphs, including picture and bar graphs, pie charts, line graphs, and tables. Students develop their ability to count, add, subtract, sort, classify, ask questions, interpret information, find patterns, communicate information using graphs, solve problems, make decisions, and find meaning in everyday math. The Graph Club provides opportunities to develop higher level thinking skills through activities such as comparing and contrasting graphs, finding similarities and differences, seeing relationships, analyzing and interpreting, and predicting change."

"The program is fun, colorful, well-designed, interesting to elementary level children, challenging and engaging."

"The program is open-ended, allowing for additional symbols to be imported into the symbol palette."

"There are 35 ready-to-use graphing activities in the Sample Graphs folder ranging from Favorite Colors to How Big Are Your Feet to Teeth You've Lost. The teacher's guide has many more graphing ideas, including suggestions on how to use this program with children in the primary grades and on transitioning from using manipulatives (concrete objects) to more abstract graphs."

"The print options are very useful, providing three different sizes (standard, big book, or poster), and there is a section in the Teacher's Guide called Printing Ideas, which expands the creative application of the program."

"The price of this program is $79.95 for one computer, $199.95 for five computers, $349.95 for ten computers, $699.95 for a network license (unlimited use), and $799.95 for a site license (unlimited use). Teachers who have access to an LCD projection device or computer-to-TV converter will find the cost of one license well worthwhile. The network and site license costs are within the pricing norm for this option, but many schools with limited software budgets will find the cost prohibitive. The value of the program and potential impact on student learning mathematical concepts is well worth the investment."

"Usefulness for a variety of subject matter is great!"

Go to the detailed ED-u-rate chart.


"A copy of the entire The Graph Club binder, including the Teacher's Guide, References (bibliography of children's books -- counting, math, and language arts -- which can be used to generate ideas for graphs), Sample Graphs & Activities, and Reproducibles, is available on PDF files on the CD-ROM, so additional copies may be made for teachers using the program. This binder was very helpful and includes a WalkThrough feature to give an overview of the program as well as more specific information on the four modes of the program and teaching ideas with connections to math and language arts."

"No online help link is available on The Graph Club. It would be very helpful to be able to access Help online while using the program -- a common feature on other software. (Possibly because of a 1995 copyright?) Teachers can go to the Tom Snyder Web site to find tech support, FAQ and other information specific to the application, tech notes for technical problems, updates and patches, system requirements, and a help request e-mail form."

"I sent tech support an e-mail asking how to save student graphs in order to post them on our Web page and got a quick, friendly reply with the information I needed."

"I had no reason to contact technical support, but I did use the help feature frequently."

"I did not really have occasion to need help. The book that comes with the program is fairly good."

"Match mode under Teacher Options is especially helpful for achieving specific instructional goals."

"Technical support is available via the searchable online HELP menu and provides basic assistance. A README file included in the installation contains the latest update information."

"I found it challenging to locate a technical support number within the Teacher's Guide, although I did find a generic 800 number for the sales and support team. No special reference to a technical support number was located in the guide. It would be helpful if there was a technical support number on the credits page or within the HELP menu in the About The Graph Club option."

Go to the detailed ED-u-rate chart.


Education World®
Copyright © 2002 Education World