Reflection: Real World Applications SKILL BUILDER: How to Make a Graph - Section 1: Introduction


I've included here three examples of student graphs to better explain why I'm teaching an elementary math standard in an upper grades high school class.  

The first graph was actually what motivated me to stop and devote a whole lesson to graphing.  The student seems to understand the basics of graphing, but with little care to whether their graph actually communicates anything.  It is sloppy and seems to be in service to the requirements of the assignment, not towards developing a deeper understanding of the data they'd collected.


The second graph is a little better, but aesthetically leaves a lot to be desired.  I don't like that there's no real visual differentiation between the different "fish" species or the different rounds of the contest.  Also, it is a poor use of space as more than half of the paper is left blank, crowding all the data together in the bottom half of the page.


Finally, the last graph was completed after the lesson.  It's not the world's best graph, but it does have a few things going for it:

1. It's neat and makes good use of space.

2. The units are consistent.

3. the different colors clearly differentiate the two things being compared.

Again, it's not shockingly great, but it does do the basic job of representing quantitative information visually which, in turn, should help students observe patterns and make sense of the data. 

  Real World Applications: Why spend time teaching graphs?
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SKILL BUILDER: How to Make a Graph

Unit 2: The Nature of Environmental Science
Lesson 17 of 17

Objective: Students will be able to make simple, clear graphs at appropriate scales.

Big Idea: Graphs are an way to turn abstract quantitative data into a picture, allowing students to visualize patterns and trends in the data.

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