September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

A Graphing Primer

Posted: Thursday, September 1st, 2011

by Heather Marshall

It is the start of a new school year.  Already?  I typically begin the new school year by reviewing some science basics. I go over lab safety, measurement and dimensional analysis regardless of the course I am teaching. Another aspect I review is graphing. It always surprises me how many upperclassmen in high school still do not know which type of graph to use for different data. So I do a graphing scientific data notes and lab activity within the first week of school. It can be used anytime to review the basics of graphing, and can be used for middle or high school students.

In this activity, I go over some basic review points about the three types of graphs, the elements of a good graph, and then using classroom data, have the students create a bar and a pie graph. I also use local weather data (temperature and precipitation values for the year) to have the kids construct a line graph using two data sets on the same graph (this can be split into two line graphs if you prefer). The lab includes a conclusion or summarizing set of questions so that kids can refer back to the activity to remind themselves of good graphing practices throughout the year. As I have my kids keep a science notebook, this lab is always at the front of their notebook to refer to all year long.

The PowerPoint I use for this activity can be accessed here: http://goo.gl/qA4Hl. Feel free to copy my lab and modify it as you need!

Heather Marshall teaches CP geology at Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill and is CSTA’s high school director.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Heather Wygant

Heather Wygant

Heather Wygant teaches CP geology at Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill, CA and is a member of CSTA.

One Response

  1. hello, thanks for sharing, this is exactly what I was looking for. I am in the same boat, I teach physiology and chemistry. And at my high school the students come to chemistry with a wide range of math skills. Today, I will be reviewing how to do graphs, some know how to do it well while others will need this review.

    thanks again

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