We’ve just uploaded a new 20-page workpack which is all about charts – including Bar, Line, and Pie.
Why Charting is Important
Charts are a fantastic way for children to both visualise numbers, and to convert numbers into visuals.
Children who might struggle with abstract terms such as statistics and averages, can often “see” the numbers more clearly when expressed in a chart.
This week’s free worksheets address charts and charting.
The bar chart is the most common type of chart used in the world. For this reason, it is the most often taught format at school – especially at Primary school.
There are, however, variations. The example above shows negative numbers.
Another variation is to move the bars horizontally (as can be seen in our recent free chart PDF’s for subscribers).
A variation which can often catch out Primary School children is where a bar chart starts (the x-axis) at a non-zero value. For example, if a chart wants to show the price of similar cars – all around £30,000 – the chart may start at £25,000 – thus allowing the user to see more clearly the variation in price.
The work-sheet pack for sale in Ninja Maths contains several great vertical and horizontal examples of bar charts.
Line charts are very similar to bar-charts, but as the name suggests, use a line to connect the data points, as in the example above.
Line charts are useful especially if illustrating cumulative data – for example, how the number of gold stars awarded at school accumulate over a year.
The Ninja Maths worksheets contain several line charts to interpret.
Pie charts are excellent to enable the viewer to see comparisons between data points, as in the chart about.
Pie charts are very useful to help teach percentages, especially where the data is “easy” to see – such as 25% being represented by a 90 degree chunk of pie (i.e. a quarter).
The above pie chart example is included in the Ninja Maths worksheets in the shop.
Why Charts are Useful for the Real World
It is essential that children grow up understanding how to both draw and interpret charts.
In later life, whether working in advertising, marketing, engineering, or sales, charts are a key part of the work-day.
It is common in Secondary School for students to learn basic Excel skills, which include creating charts.
As alluded to earlier, looking at a table of data (such as the average temperature each day last week) is kind of boring. Seeing it in a chart changes everything. Not only can students see the data-points, but they can also immediately interpret the data. For example, to see the warmest and coldest days, hoe variation in temperature throughout the week, and so on.
For more complex data, it is useful for students to learn how to convert data into percentages.
The Choropleth Chart
We’re aiming to include more advanced charts in future workpacks. For example, we love the Choropleth map which uses colour reflecting a number which you can see here (opens in Wikipedia).