Types of Graphs – Measurement & Data

One way for children to collect data to graph is for them to ask their family and friends a question as in a simple survey.  For example, the question, “ what is your favorite type of apple?” would lead to perhaps several different types of apples with some being repeated more than others.  They would need to survey a selection of people to collect their data, and then they would be able to graph their data.  However, what type of graph should they use?

Three Main Types of Graphs

There are three main types of graphs that children will learn in elementary school.  The first type of graph is a circle graph.  This is used to measure percentages or parts of a whole.  The next type of graph is a line graph.  This is used to measure trends over a period of time.  Lastly, there are bar graphs (which can also use pictures to create the bar).  Bar graphs can be used to measure general numbers.

For the example about apples above, a bar graph would be the best option to use.  Here is a template for a bar graph on this topic that your children can complete..  This is a popular activity that many classes do in the fall, so it would even be fun to compare the results that they got at school to what they collected from their family and friends.

A good real-world example for a line graph would be to have your child track and collect the temperatures (highs and lows) over a series of days.  For a pie chart, they can tally a characteristic of your family (including pets) such as eye color.  They can then use this data to draw a pie graph to show the percentages.

What are your fun activities that you do to practice understanding and drawing the different types of graphs?

Check Smart Tutor Elementary Math Curriculum and Free Math Games

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