Adult Ed

Analyze This

Overview | Activities

Introductory Activities | Learning Activities | Culminating Activity
Cross-curricular Extensions | Community Connections

Introductory Activities — Using graphs

1. Distribute copies of the PIECE OF THE PIE [.doc] worksheet. Explain to students that the terms "pie graph" and "circle graph" are synonymous. In this lesson, we will use the term circle graph to emphasize that all of the data being compared in this type of graph can be represented within a circle. Break students into groups and allow them time to answer the questions on the worksheet.

2. Ask the students to complete the USING GRAPHS PRETEST (#1) [.pdf] handout to assess their current understanding concerning graphing. This can also be used as a review of graphing concepts, as a substitute lesson plan or as an assignment for students who may have missed the introductory activities and discussion.

Learning Activities—Using Graphs Video presentation

1. As an introduction to the video, conduct a discussion with the class to find out if they know what is meant by the phrase "we are living in an age of information?"
(The "Information Age" refers to the current historical time period; it is called the Information Age because technology, especially computer technology, has enabled us to transcend barriers of communication that used to exist less than 100 years ago.)

NOTE: Questions may be posed orally or by using the "Post test" found on the USING GRAPHS, #8 [.pdf]. The "Post test" asks questions that can be used during the viewing of the video to focus student attention toward a specific point being made in specific portions of the video segment.

2. View the MAPS AND GLOBES: USING GRAPHS video from the Video on Demand list of programs (Windows Media Player or QuickTime plug-in required). FAST FORWARD (>>) the video to 1:05. PLAY (>) the video until you hear the narrator say "notice, that the graph is easier to read." PAUSE (||) the video at 2:30. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them why graphing is an important skill? (Graphing allows people to visualize complex information, called data, quickly without having to read several columns of text.)

3. Ask students to identify on a separate sheet of paper the four major types of graphs. (PLAY (>) the video until you hear the narrator say "each type of graph has different purposes and displays information in different ways." PAUSE (||) the video at 3:09. The four major types of graph are the line graph, bar graph, circle graph, and pictograph.)

4. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them to identify the purpose of a line graph. PLAY (>) tape where you left off. PAUSE (||) the video when you hear the narrator say "you can predict the future by extending the graph past the year 2000." (The purpose of a line graph is to show change over time. In this way, the changing quantity--the variable listed on the y-axis--is shown to depend on the amount of time (the quantity on the x-axis). In math and science, we use the terms "dependent" and "independent" variables to describe the quantities on the y-axis and x-axis respectively.)

5. PLAY (>) the video until you hear the narrator say "we can use a protractor to divide the pie up correctly"; you will see a gentleman using a protractor to draw a circle. PAUSE (||) the video at 7:43. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them, how many degrees are in a circle and how many degrees would represent 1% in a circle graph? How many degrees on the circle would represent 21%? (A circle has 360 degrees in it. If 360 degrees represents 100%, then 360/100 represents 1% or 3.6 degrees could be used to represent each percent of a circle graph. 21% would be represented by 75.6 degrees on a circle graph.)

NOTE: A significant portion of the remaining video, from 7:43 to 10:21, discusses at length the development of circle graphs. Depending on your learning goals, you can choose to PLAY or FAST FORWARD the video through this segment.

6. FAST FORWARD (>>) the video and RESUME PLAY (>) at 10:22. PAUSE (||) the video after you hear the narrator say "the symbol used to represent the information is usually designed to reflect the item being compared" at 10:39. Ask the students what type of graph does the pictograph resemble? (Bar graph)

7. STOP the video and distribute the video quiz handout USING GRAPHS #2 [.pdf] or FAST FORWARD (>>) the video to 11:48 and conduct the quiz orally. (The answers to the video quiz are in the Teacher's Guide.)

8. Your students will now begin to create graphs (Line/Circle/Bar graph). Distribute the SAMPLE DATA handout. Inform students that this data will be used to generate graphs on the National Center for Education Statistics' "Create a graph" Web site. For each set of data, ask students to brainstorm an appropriate title for a graph so that the title lets people know what type of information is being presented. Record the titles next to the tables on the SAMPLE DATA handout for reference when using the Web site.

9. After logging onto the National Center for Education Statistics' "Create a graph" Web site, students must click on the "Start making graphs" icon. Instruct students to select the design layout that is most appropriate for the data set they want to represent. Inform students that each page can be accessed by clicking on the corresponding tab that appears on the right side of the "Create a Graph" Web page. On the "Data Page," students can enter the titles that they brainstormed in Step 8 of this activity. They can then enter data for each type of graph in the dialog boxes.

NOTE: Once the design has been chosen, the "data set" frame will change to reflect the design choice.

10. On the "Labels page" students can select what information they want shown on their graph and how they want it to be displayed.

NOTE: Students can show actual numbers, percentages or both in a variety of fonts and colors.

11. Students can preview their graph by clicking on the "Preview" tab on the Web site. Finally, after completing the exercise for each data set, students can print out, save or email their results for evaluation. To check for additional comprehension, students can answer the "Check for understanding" questions listed on the SAMPLE DATA handout.

Culminating—Analyze class graphs

1. You can differentiate the lesson for students by analyzing different elements of the student-produced graphs. For beginners, analyze trends in linear data. For each line graph, identify whether the data increases, decreases or remains the same over time. At the intermediate level, challenge students to consider corresponding volumes for times that are not provided in the data set. To practice INTERPOLATING, ask students to predict what the volume will be when time= 15-seconds or time=45-seconds. To practice EXTRAPOLATING data, ask students to predict what the volume will be when time=65-seconds or time=75-seconds. At the advanced level, introduce the slope-intercept formula for linear equations, y=mx + b. Explain to students that each variable represents information that can be determined by analyzing the data. Explain that x and y are coordinates for points on the line; "m" is the variable used to represent the slope of a line and can be calculated by finding the difference in two y-values divided by the difference in the corresponding x-values. In other words, the slope of the line is an expression of the "rise" of the line over the "run" of the line. Finally explain that "b" represents the y-intercept, the y coordinate where x=0 or the place where the graph (the line) hits the y-axis.

2. Distribute the TAKING STOCK handout. Give students at least ten minutes to answer the questions. When they are ready, ask them to "think-pair-share" their responses and check against the answers supplied on the teacher version.

NOTE: "Think, pair, share" is an activity where the students think about their answers, in this case by writing them on their handouts, pair with another student and share their answers.

Cross Curricular ExtensionsIncorporating tables

  • Use the "On Yer Bike" worksheet to provide additional practice in the conversion of tabular data to graphical forms. Complete all of the activities as a comprehensive review of all parts of this lesson.
  • Complete the enrichment project outlined on the USING GRAPHS #9 "Stock Market" handout. The timeline for the project is one month and will require students to research information about specific stocks during that time period. This project will address social studies content, language arts and research skills, in addition to math skills. Most daily newspapers have a business section where students can monitor stocks or students can log onto the market pages of most online newspapers like USA TODAY.
  • Use a computer-based spreadsheet or software program (e.g., Excel, Lotus) to create a computer-generated graph.

Community Connections — Corporate data collection

  • As a class, collect data on selected corporations over a specified amount of time. Post the class data and begin charting once the class has compiled at least two data points.

  • Gather samples of graphs that appear in a variety of different everyday texts. Build a bulletin board to reinforce the skill and emphasize the importance of graphical analysis and interpretation.