Using Graphs to Analyze Data

Using Graphs to Analyze Data

Author: Nathan Lampson
This lesson will demonstrate how to analyze and interpret data given in the form of a graph.
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Using charts to analyze data is an important skill. Do you want to know what the highest temperature was this year or what the average river depth was? Using charts and graphs can help answer questions and see trends.

Pie Charts

With a pie chart, each section of the pie represents a part of the whole picture.  This pie chart represents the lunch requests for 195 students.  The blue section of the chart represents the students who would like pizza.  The blue section tells you that 91/195 students would like to request pizza. 

Bar Graph

Bar graphs are used to show the difference between groups of data. In this bar graph, each bar represents a type of favorite animal for students. To read a bar graph, find out what each bar represents and check how tall the bar is.  A scale on the side of the graph will tell you what the height of the graph means. Ten of the students in the class chose whale as their favorite animal. One of the blue bars represents students that chose the whale as their favorite animal and the bar is ten units high.

Line Graph

Line graphs are used to display how something changes over time.  The data points on the left side of the graph happened first and the data points on the right side of the graph happened more recently.  Like bar graphs, line graphs use a scale on the side of the graph to determine what the value of each data point is.  In this line graph, the temperature scale ranges from 0-29 degrees fahrenheit.  Data points in a line graph are connected in order to show how things change over time.  In this graph, the temperature in the morning starts at 22 degrees and rises to 29 degrees at 3PM.