Have you seen what students often do when left to their own devices with bar graphs? Yikes! As with everything regarding Interactive Science Notebooks, I explicitly teach students how to make better bar graphs. When I made my Science Process Skills Notebook activities recently, I thought about how I teach graphs and I got really excited to share it with you. Yes, I’m excited about bar graphs…
Start with labeling the parts of a bar graph. Discuss the steps you take in making a bar graph.
Use authentic data to practice making a bar graph on grid paper.
When it comes time for students to make graphs on their own without a grid, these are the steps I prefer.
1. Collect authentic data. Set up the graph with labels and a title.
2. Either draw a box or use one that is provided in a template. Measure the height of the box in centimeters (only because they are smaller). Look at what you need to count by in order to utilize your space. Also, reinforce that the intervals must be equal. I’ve seen students just put the numbers they need to use in order along the left side…
3. Draw a line from each centimeter mark and count up by the intervals you determined.
4. Use a ruler to draw the top line for each of the numbers you need to graph. Compare the numbers as you go to make sure you maintain accuracy.
5. Use the ruler again to draw lines from the bottom of the graph to the lines. Use color to make comparing data easier.