Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into three sections:
  • Prep -- Preparing for the lesson
  • Steps -- Conducting the lesson
  • Tips -- Managing resources and student activities

Student Prerequisites:
Students should be familiar with the concept of graphs, but need very little knowledge about how to interpret or create them. This lesson introduces this aspect of graphing.

Computer Resources:
You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:
  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.

  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.

  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.

  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95.
The following sites should be bookmarked:
  • Cigarette Smokers in 1992

    This site presents a bar graph of the percent of male and female smokers according to age.

  • Historical United States Census Data Browser

    This site displays United States census information for the years 1790 - 1860. Access to the years from 1870 - 1970 is restricted.

  • Excellence in Curriculum Integration Through Teaching Epidemiology

    Prepared for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this site presents case studies of outbreaks of diseases.

  • Excellence in Curriculum Integration Through Teaching Epidemiology: Legionnaires Disease

    This is the direct address for the Legionnaires Disease Histogram. If your browser does not support frames, follow the instructions listed under "Histograms -- Analysis of Data" in Step 1 to get to this page.

  • Airplane Incidents or Accidents from 1972 - 1989

    This list includes dates of airplane crashes, the aircraft types, the airline names, and the cities closest to the crashes.

  • Quarterly Labor Productivity

    Presented are the 3rd quarter productivity, output, and hours of all persons in the non-farm business sector from 1990 - 1997.

  • U.S. Industrial Outlook

    This site is designed to track industries in the U.S. It is analyzed to find trends in business and spot the effects of global developments on U.S. businesses.

  • Consumer Expenditures in 1992

    This graph presents the average total expenditures of a typical American household in the areas of food, housing, insurance, transportation, and other.

  • U.S. Department of State

    This site presents details about the United Nations -- its purpose, its cost, its members, and other details.

  • Ready Reference Using the Internet

    This is a collection of statistical sites for easy linking.

  • Introduce the topic and explain that you will be looking at four different types of graphs: bar graphs, circle graphs, histograms, and line graphs. Lead the class through the creation of the type of graph selected for the day. Once students are comfortable with the graph you are explaining, have them move to the computer to analyze an example of this type of graph found online. The data analysis questions are included in Organizers for Students.

    Once students have had a chance to analyze the graph and answer the analysis questions, they should move on to creating a graph of the same type. After collecting the information for the graph they are to create, students should return to their work areas to complete it. Attention should be paid to the correct format and purpose of each type of graph. Students can create their graphs on paper or on a computer using software such as Microsoft Excel.

    As each graph type is completed, have the class move on to another type.

    Bar Graphs -- Analysis of Data:

    1. Go to

    2. Use the bar graph to answer these questions:

      • What was the average percent of male smokers in 1992?
      • What was the average percent of female smokers in 1992?
      • Are differences between male and female smoking rates consistent in each age bracket?
      • What are some possible reasons for the large decrease in smokers age 65 and over?
      • If a bracket for ages 10 - 17 years had been included, what do you predict the values would be? Why?

    Bar Graphs -- Creation:

    1. Go to

    2. This site displays United States census information for the years 1790 - 1970. Select a decade as your topic of investigation.

    3. Select a theme from your decade.

    4. Select several northern states and southern states.

    5. Select up to 10 topics to analyze.

    6. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the "Browse" button.

    7. Create 2 bar graphs:

      • states vs. topic 1 of your choice
      • states vs. topic 2 of your choice

    8. Discuss the results of your investigation. Write 3 questions that can be answered by studying your graphs.

    Histograms -- Analysis of Data:

    1. Go to

    2. Click on the following links in the order listed:

      • "Medical Mystery Tours"
      • "CDC Case Study"
      • "Legionnaires Slide Set"
      • "Age Distribution of Cases"

    3. You will see a histogram showing the incidence of Legionnaires Disease by age.

    4. Analyze the histogram and answer these questions:

      • Which age group had the most cases of the disease in the decade 1980 - 1989?
      • How many cases are shown in the histogram for ages 50 - 54?
      • Estimate the true rate of cases shown in the histogram for ages 50 - 54.
      • What is the width of each histogram interval?
      • What are nosocomial cases?
      • What are some possible reasons for the high rate of infection of people ages 55 - 80?

    Histograms -- Creation:

    1. Go to

    2. Create a histogram showing the number of airplane crashes per year from 1972 - 1989.

    3. Create a second histogram showing the number of airplane crashes per airline.

    4. Which year was the worst for flyers with respect to crashes?

    5. Which airline had the worst record for crashes? The best?

    6. Discuss any trends you notice. What are some possible reasons for these trends?

    Line Graphs -- Analysis of Data:

    1. Go to

    2. Answer these questions:

      • What is the definition of productivity?
      • Estimate the output and hours worked during the third quarter of 1992.
      • Calculate output/hour during the third quarter of 1992. Locate this point on the graph. What do you notice?
      • Do the same calculations for another quarter. What do you notice? Why?
      • In the third quarter of 1997, why is productivity so low?

    Line Graphs -- Creation:

    1. Go to

    2. Scroll down to "Trends." Select a product that is of interest to you. Create a line graph showing value per year.

    3. Answer these questions:

      • What was the best year for your product? The worst?
      • Predict the value of your product for the next 3 years. Defend your prediction.

    Circle Graphs -- Analysis of Data:

    1. Go to

    2. Analyze the circle graph and answer these questions:

      • What percent of expenditures were spent on food in 1992?
      • What percent of expenditures were spent on personal insurance and pensions in 1992?
      • What was the average total expenditures in 1992?
      • What does "average total expenditure" mean?
      • On average, how much money was spent by the average consumer on housing in 1992?

    Circle Graphs -- Creation:

    1. Go to

    2. Scroll down to "Financing" under the "Profile" section.

    3. Create 2 circle graphs:

      • General budget for the calendar year 1996
      • United States share of the budget for 1996

    4. Calculate the percentage share for the United States for each category. For example:

      The total budget = $12.8 billion and the U.S. share = $2.8 billion. The U.S. share is 21.9%.

    5. Is the U.S. percentage the same for any other categories? If so, which ones? If not, why not?

    6. Why is the United States responsible for such a large percentage of the United Nation's budget?

  • Put it all together! Show what you know! When you have worked through all four graph types with your class, direct them to go to the site Ready Reference Using the Internet ( Students should select topics of their choice and create at least three different types of graph to show information about their topic. For each graph, they should be able to explain why that type of graph is the best choice for the information they want to convey. They should also write three questions that can be answered by analyzing their graphs.

One Computer in the Classroom
If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your class into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (Always have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer, in order to show them examples of what to look for.) When the groups have finished working have them switch places.

If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do Internet research together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen, go to the relevant Web site(s), and review the information presented there. You can also select a search engine page and allow your students to suggest the search criteria. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

Several Computers in the Classroom
Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked sites.

You can also set the class up so that each computer is dedicated to certain sites. Students will then move around the classroom, getting different information from each station.

Using a Computer Lab
A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.

Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students