Using Charts and Graphs in the Classroom

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Using Charts and Graphs in the Classroom
Visual Effects and Data Interpretation

Overview Charts, graphs, and tables provide a great deal of visual appeal. They allow users to quickly spot trends, examine pronounced data, and see an actual picture. This power and appeal makes a “picture worth a thousand words.” In educational settings, charts, graphs, and tables can be used to represent data, illustrate important patterns or relationships, and observe changes as data is altered.

Important Questions How can charts and graphs help students communicate more effectively? What tools are available to help students create charts and graphs? What manipulations are necessary to a chart or graph, so that it will print accurately in a desktop publishing document?

Charts and Graphs Reasons to create charts and graphs:
Provide a visual representation of data. Effectively clarify information. Represent many different types of data.

Charts and Graphs Reasons to create charts and graphs:
Make important trends easily recognizable. Allow users to perceive information quickly. Aid data interpretation.

Charts and Graphs Reasons to create charts and graphs:
Charts and graphs can be incorporated into any medium. Reports Web Pages Posters Word Processing Document Desktop Publishing Document

Charts and Graphs Pie Stacked Bar Area Bar Scatter Line

Products for Creating Charts and Graphs
Lotus 1-2-3 Microsoft Works ClarisWorks QuattroPro Microsoft Excel Harvard Graphics Graph Power

Charting Considerations
Type of data. Purpose of the data. Nature of the data or relationship being presented. Accuracy and applicability of the chart.

Charting Considerations
To illustrate data, use a line or bar chart. To depict percentages, use a pie chart. Use templates or wizards available when possible.

Charting Terminology Horizontal Axis = X Axis Vertical Axis = Y Axis
3D Data = Z Axis Gridlines Plotting Contiguous versus non-contiguous data

Classroom Applications of Charts or Graphs
Predict outcomes. Illustrate trends. Examine patterns. Compare and contrast data. Investigate phenomenon. Collection data. Explain outcomes visually.

Charts and Graphs Other Classroom Applications:
Students can create bar charts illustrating frequency. Students can graph linear equations, alter variables, and observe changes. Students can link spreadsheet data, to predict and observe how changes in spreadsheet affect the chart.

Modifying Charts Resizing the actual chart. Changing the legend.
Changing chart titles and subtitles. Modifying the appearance of the chart Changing the color of plotted areas.

Modifying Charts Many integrated packages automatically update your charts each time your data changes. Many packages also automatically update the scales used for plotting data as the actual worksheet changes. Many packages also alter range references as data moves.

Modifying Charts Formatting a selected axis allows users to change the units, numbers displayed, or the labels. Often, packages have options that also allow users to change the orientation of the chart.

Using a Chart in another Program
Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) Technology makes it possible to integrate charts with other applications. Ways to place a chart into a document: Copy and paste. (Modify a copy of the original.) Linking the chart. (Modify the original.) Importing and exporting the chart. (Copy the original and place it in the selected document.)

Resizing Charts When resizing a chart window, only change the white space where the chart resides. All elements within the chart can be resized. Select the chart and use the border handles for resizing.

Integrating “Integrating technology into any curriculum is ideal when it can be meaningfully applied to help students improve their performance, discover new ways of using the power of a technology tool, and embrace new content. Technology’s integration is limited by available resources, creativity, and time to plan, implement, and revise ideas. All of these factors are surmountable with a little ingenuity, patience, hard work, and desire.” -Ennis-Cole

Integrating The use of integrated application software can help students: Solve complex problems. Discover relationships. Evaluate and organize data. Analyze information. Predict outcomes. Present professional looking output.

Integrating The use of integrated application software can help students: Record and categorize data. Calculate results. Demonstrate knowledge. Create original products.

Integrating Bitter and Pierson (2002) suggest the following for learning activities that integrate technology: Activity level Grade level Purpose or goal Description or summary Preparation beforehand

Integrating Bitter and Pierson (2002) suggest the following for learning activities that integrate technology: Procedure (step-by-step) Tools/Resources Assessment (student) Comments (notes)

References Bitter, G., & Pierson, M. (2002). Using Technology in the Classroom, 5th ed., Allyn & Bacon: Boston. Morrison, G.R., & Lowther, D.L. (2002). Integrating Computer Technology into the Classroom, 2nd ed., Merrill Prentice Hall: New Jersey.

Remember, “a picture is worth a thousand words…”
Summary Charts are a good way to visually represent data. Once created, charts can be merged with other technology products to convey an idea, demonstrate content knowledge, and communicate findings. Remember, “a picture is worth a thousand words…”