Putting the Pieces Together: Making an Infographic

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SWBAT create an "infograohic," representing data associated with their Argument of Fact essays.

Big Idea

... tracing its heritage to (maybe) the mid 19th c., "infographics" are a powerful and utterly modern tool for presenting ideas, persuading others, and conceptualizing difficult real-world relationships between people and phenomena ...

Context and Introduction

6 minutes

I begin this lesson with a short review of the last two days, and I call for volunteers to share some of the "better" infographics they found yesterday.  Generally, I end up with three or four to project on the classroom screen, and we take a few minutes to discuss their merits.

Then, I explain that they will now begin the process of creating their own that they will orally present to the class in a fortnight.  First, though, we review the project instructions, and I clarify any misunderstandings and take all manner of questions.

Review for Understanding: The Eight Types of Infographics

12 minutes

After students have loaded the Google Doc copy of the instructions (see the previous section), they click the link to the "pre-design 'index card'" ... and we preview the questions they need to answer before making their infographic.  I mention that I will help them with a few "raw data" sets, but, generally, they should have some data to work with from the research they just completed.

After reviewing the upcoming questions for an index card/ticket out, I share this blog post on the classroom screen and we discuss each type of infographic and its uses.  At this point, I mention that the "visualized article" can work for nearly any topic, and I encourage them to think about this type of project if they are struggling to find numbers-based data (which is of course not required).  The point is simply that there is one type of infographic for everyone's interests, and you can't NOT do this ... there is a form that will fit your needs!

After we have discussed the types of infographics and the relative merits of each, I distribute an infographic on infographics, so students can best choose -- the graphic is a handy flowchart for selecting types of infographics to create!

Guided Practice: Mining for Data

12 minutes

After students have selected the type of infographic they will create, they, obviously need to find the data they will illustrate.  I ask them to first start with their own research -- what "numbers" or "figures" do they already have?  For those students who completed "visualized articles," "flowcharts," or "timelines" needed to go no further then the data they had already collected.

However, if students needed/wanted numbers, I recommended that they browse the following four "raw" data sources:

  1. the New York Times provides open access to the linked data for over 30,000 tags, established since 2010;
  2. the Many Eyes IBM sponsored data project;
  3. non-profit, green advocating .org Gapminder provides international data sets;
  4. statistic brain provides accurate data to many important news agencies.

Obviously, they do not have to select or use data from only these four sites, but I can "vouch" for the validity of sources.  I'm broadminded about what data they may use, as long as they can cite the source correctly.  I do mention they need "look beyond" Wikipedia for this project ...

Guided Practice: Bringing It All Together to Plan Your Infographic

12 minutes

Students, now, can complete their index card/ticket out and prepare to actually make the infographic. 

The eighth step in my overall instructions, reads thus:

begin creating your infographic; design tools:

My students mostly used piktochart, but many also used easel.ly.  Only a handful used Google Drawings, and no one used any of the Office software, even including PowerPoint.

They had (overall) about three full class days to actually work on the final copy of the infographic, and once everyone was finished students did present to one another.