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 chart or graph is appropriate for which set of data, and so your examples should be clear. An overview of different kinds of charts is given in Resource 2: Charts and graphs.

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

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: Interpreting charts

Mrs Kunda teaches at a school in Mbale. She wanted to make sure her pupils could interpret simple charts before going on to produce charts of their own. She brought to schools some examples of pie charts, bar charts and line graphs (Resource 2).

First, she showed the class one of each type and, using some questions she had prepared beforehand, she checked that the pupils were able to understand the information that each one presented.

She then put the class into groups and gave out other charts. She wrote a few simple statements on the board, and told the groups to decide whether each one was true or false, according to the information in the charts. As the groups did the activity, Mrs Kunda walked around and listened.

When they had finished, Mrs Kunda checked the answers with the whole class, and explained one or two things that they had found difficult. In doing this, she introduced the idea that different types of chart are suitable for different types of information. Then she praised the class for their good work.

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

Activity 2: Creating charts

Before doing this activity, use Resource 1 and Resource 2 to familiarise yourself with different kinds of chart. Use Resource 2 to make sure you understand the uses and key teaching points for each chart type.

  • Write the words ‘pie chart’, ‘bar chart’ and ‘line graph’ on the chalkboard and remind pupils what each type looks like.
  • Copy the data in Resource 3: Data sets on the board, and get pupils to suggest which type of chart (pie chart, bar chart or line graph) would be most suitable in each case for presenting it. Use questioning to indicate the main features and uses of each type of chart.
  • For each set of data, construct a chart on the board with the help of the pupils. (Draw the main outline and ask pupils to come out in turn and add to the chart. Ask the class for feedback each time.)
  • In the next lesson, give out similar data and ask pupils to make charts individually.

1. Organising surveys to collect data

3. Assessing understanding