Interpreting Data and Constructing Graphs

I have been working with a group of students who had excellent previous knowledge in the area of constructing and interpreting data. I had to dig deep to come up with a task to really challenge them and decided that they would work in pairs to take a set of data, prepare a graph and corresponding questions to challenge another pair of students with.


Open the discussion

We began this mini project by looking at where were get data and statistics from and why we need it. I always start a Maths topic by looking at why we need to learn the skills. In my opinion, students are more engaged in a topic when they can connect the skill to ‘real life’- what will I do in my every day life to use this skill?

RESOURCE: I found this website great and very student friendly, ABC Education to explore a variety of graphs.


Interpreting the data

Students will use information in a table to create and present the information using a graph of their choice. I asked my students to look at the data from the 2016 Olympic Games, specifically the medal tally, however there are lots of options regarding which count students might use. See this data here

1️⃣ Students work in pairs and discuss how they will present their information as a graph. Brainstorm some of the decisions that will need to be made.

✔️ Select the category of data that you wish to graph. You could choose gold medals, silver medals, bronze medals or the total medals. You may choose more than one category to graph.

✔️ Decide on the type of graph you are going to present – picture graph, column graph or another type of graph

✔️ Choose an appropriate scale, symbol and key

✔️ Give your graph a title

✔️ Decide whether you will draw it or use a computer program

2️⃣ Formulate 5-6 questions that can be answered using the data in your graph.


Independent/Collaborative Learning

Some students used Google Sheets to present their project, while others used graph paper. Given the range of skill and ability across the group, I felt it was important to give students the choice.

Here is a student work sample:


Present and Reflect

My students put so much effort into their graphs so sharing them was very important. I asked students to present your data and questions using BookCreator or Google Slides so I could swap the presentations with another group

This task took quite a number of lessons so I felt that a reflection was very important. I wanted to know what my students got out of this task and what they had learnt so I simply asked;

What were the challenges and successes of this task?



Thank you so much for reading this post. If you decide to use this in your classroom, please feel free to come back and leave some feedback or share your ideas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s