2. Interpreting and creating charts in groups

Collecting data is only part of some investigations as it may need to be analysed and displayed to understand it better or to share the information with others. Pupils can show their data, by using pictographs, pie charts, bar graphs, histograms or line graphs. It is important that pupils know which to use for different sets of data and so your examples should be clear. An overview of different kinds of charts is given in Resource 2: Data handling and Resource 3: Charts and graphs

Again you will use data from the pupils’ own experiences but it is a good idea to bring various examples to class from newspapers, magazines and government publications to see some of the ways it is done.

Helping pupils understand the different kinds of chart, takes time and you will need to plan several activities on each method to develop their understanding.

Case Study 2: Drawing a chart

After spending time collecting data, Mrs Nikoi wanted her pupils to make their own decisions about how they would display the data they had collected. She brought to class examples that she had found in newspapers, magazines and government documents, but selected only 3 types of chart for them to see . There were many examples of educational statistics concerning pupils and schools that she felt would interest them in particular. She obtained some of these from her local education office. They had had some experience the year before of all three types of chart and so Mrs Nikoi only had to remind them of their use.

After a class discussion on the various ways these statistics were displayed she asked her pupils to return to their groups and decide together how best to display their data. Most of them wanted to do a bar chart and so Mrs Nikoi reminded them how to do this (see Resource 3) and then supported them as each group drew their own chart. They showed their results to the rest of the class. Mrs Nikoi thought that this method was more learner friendly than merely telling her pupils what to do and allowed them to feel ownership of their work and what they had found out.

(See Key Resource: Using group work in your classroom [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .)

Activity 2: Data presentation

Beforehand use Resources 2 and Resource 3 to familiarise yourself with the different kinds of charts. Use Resource 3 to make sure you understand the uses and key teaching points for each chart type.

Collect examples of data displayed as pie charts, pictographs, bar charts and line graphs to share with your pupils as seeing data displayed in this way will help them see the relevance of selecting the proper chart. Spend time explaining what kind of information is best displayed by each chart.

Plan a sequence of lessons, where you will teach learners how to construct each type of chart, and how they will practise this skill. For each kind of chart, think of an appropriate source of data for your learners to collect, and how you will support them through the process of constructing their charts.

1. Organising surveys to collect data

3. Assessing understanding