Unit 7: Graphs and Charts
Once we have gathered data or performed calculations, we have to visualize the information to make sense of it. It is much easier to read a graph or chart than to interpret meaning from a long list of numbers. We use graphs and charts in almost every field. Businesses use graphs and charts to show trends in growth. Politicians use graphs and charts to explain demographics and voting trends in campaigns and elections. Since we use graphs and charts so often, it is important to know how to read and interpret them.
In this unit, we will discuss the different types of graphs and charts that we use in mathematics. We will interpret the results for each type of graph or chart, learn to create charts and graphs, read charts, and work with the measures of central tendency for a data set.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.
7.1: Mean, Median, Mode, and Range
Before we begin constructing graphs and charts, we need to understand some basic statistics calculations that are often used to generate graphs and charts. Here, we will learn about four important statistical calculations: mean, median, mode, and range.
7.2: Stem-and-Leaf Plots
Now that we know the statistics needed to construct plots, we can begin exploring different types of graphs and charts. When you learn about each type of plot, should try to notice a few things. First, what type of data does the type of plot show? Second, what information is on each axis of the plot?
The first type of graph we will explore is the stem-and-leaf plot.
7.3: Line Graphs
The next type of graph we will explore are line graphs. Line graphs are often used to show trends over time or to show a distribution. For example, a line graph could be used to show the age distribution of students in a class. However, when looking at graphs, we must be careful to make sure that graphs do not misrepresent the data.
7.4: Bar Graphs
Bar graphs are a common type of graph used to compare amounts or distributions.
7.5: Box-and-Whisker Plots
The shape of a box-and-whisker plot displays the spread of your data; it will show whether your data is normally distributed or skewed. When the median is in the middle of the box and the whiskers are about the same on both sides of the box, the distribution is symmetric.
7.6: Circle or Pie Graphs
The circle or pie graph is another graph that can be used to show distributions of data. For example, a pie graph can show the distribution of age ranges in the population of a city. The size of each slice of the pie corresponds to the percent of people in that age range.
The last type of graph to discuss are pictographs. These use symbols to represent numbers of objects or people in a graph. In pictographs, it is important to read the key, or legend, to understand the meaning of the symbols.