Graphs are part of the language of newspapers, of political discussion, of science and business. Our students need to be able to read and write in this language if they are to sort out the meaning of the barrage of numbers that hits them in daily life. As stated in the NCTM Standards, middle grades students should be able to “select, create, and use appropriate graphical representations of data.” Here are resources that provide opportunities to use graphs in presenting interesting data.
Do Women Live Longer Than Men?
This activity opens with a graph that depicts the life expectancies of men and women born in the United States.
Soda: Does It Make a Difference Where You Shop?
This activity offers students a chance to compare soda prices from two stores using data displayed on a scatterplot.
Working Hours: How Much Time Do Teens Spend on the Job?
Students must interpret a bar graph to determine the average number of hours teenagers work per week.
Java applets on this site allow students to create graphs that handle examples of real-world data. Choose the heading “Statistics” and find a variety of graphs, including stem-and-leaf plot, circle, histogram, double-bar, and box plot.
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