Resource 2: Data handling

Background information / subject knowledge for teacher

Data is information. Interpreting data means working out what information is telling you.

Information in newspapers, on television, in books and on the internet is sometimes shown in charts, tables and graphs.

It is often easier to understand the information like this rather than in writing, but it is important to read all the different parts of the graph or chart.


The title tells us what the chart is about

The column headings tell us what data is in each column:

  • the name of the bike
  • what colour it is
  • its price
  • and how many gears it has

You can use the chart to find out information about each bike by looking at each row in turn

  • The Ranger is silver and has 5 gears
Bikes sold this week
VoltaSilverGh¢ 1,400,0005
HarmattanRedGh¢ 1,800,00010
AnansiBlueGh¢ 1,900,00015
GoldburstSilverGh¢ 1,200,00015
MountainWhiteGh¢ 1,000,0005


Graphs come in many different styles

Bar Graph

Tip: With any graph, always look carefully at

  • the title
  • the scale
  • the axis headings

Bar-Line Graph

Tip: With any graph, always check the scale. Often each division is worth more than one number.

Line Graphs

are made by joining the tops of bar-line graphs. This can make it easier to look at the shape of the graph.

This line graph shows that the temperature is falling each hour.

Pie charts

Pie charts are circular, like a pie! Each section of the pie shows a fraction of a total amount. This pie chart shows where 40 children in England went on their last holiday.

One quarter of the people went to Europe. That means 10 people (40 ÷ 4) people went to Europe.

The UK was the most popular holiday destination. Can you work out the second most popular?

Frequency tables

A frequency table shows information about a set of data. Sometimes there is so much data that the only way to show it all is to put it into groups called intervals.

This graph shows the heights of a class of children. The heights are grouped in equal intervals of 5cm. This means that 1.30 - 1.34 includes children with heights of 1.30m, 1.31m, 1.32m, 1.33m and 1.34m.

Adapted from: BBC Schools, Website

Resource 1: Tally chart

Resource 3: Charts and Graphs