Succeed with maths – Part 2
Succeed with maths – Part 2

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Succeed with maths – Part 2

1 Graphs and charts

At the end of last week you looked at how useful tables are for summarising a lot of data concisely, clearly and accurately. However, sometimes you want to get an overall message across quickly and this may well stay hidden in a table of data. In this situation you can use a graph or a chart instead. Graphs can also be used to explore relationships between sets of data, such as the way in which a sunflower grows over a season.

You have probably seen different types of graphs and charts in your day-to-day life, such as when watching the TV, reading a newspaper or on the internet. Here is a flavour of some you may have encountered.

Bar charts

These allow a visual comparison between different categories. For instance, in Figure 1 you can see very quickly that the hiking/hill walking category was the most popular activity, and cruising the least popular.

Figure _unit9.1.1 Figure 1 Example bar chart

Pie charts

Again, these allow a quick visual comparison between categories but this time using percentages rather than the actual data. This pie chart shows very clearly that walking is the favourite activity.

Figure _unit9.1.2 Figure 2 Example of a pie chart

Line graphs

Finally, a line graph, where all the plotted points are joined, can show clear relationships between the plotted data. In this case, the curve shows that the weight (or as it’s properly known, mass!) of a woman increases over the last six weeks of her pregnancy, but that this weight gain slows towards the end. This is shown by the flattening out of the curve in Figure 3.

Figure _unit9.1.3 Figure 3 Example line graph

You may well have come across other charts or graphs, but as these are three of the most common types, bar and pie charts and line graphs will be the focus of this week. To get you started, in the next section you will look at plotting points on a line graph.

Skip Your course resources
SWMB_2

Take your learning further371

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses372.

If you are new to university level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. Find out Where to take your learning next?373 You could either choose to start with an Access courses374or an open box module, which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification.

Not ready for University study then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn375 and sign up to our newsletter376 to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371