for the Journey North Teacher
order to make sense of data gathered during investigations and Journey
North migration studies, it helps to get a visual overview of the
information. Tables are used to organize amounts of numerical data
(e.g., the number of different species of frogs spotted in a day.)
Graphs visually show comparisons or relationships.
students pull and organize information from Journey North maps and
migration data tables, they should think about their driving question
and what they'd like to depict. By exposing them to different types
of graphs, helping them understand when it's most appropriate to
use each one, and modeling how to create each type, you will prepare
them for making appropriate choices as classroom scientists. Here
are some tips on when to use different graph types:
(Pie) Graphs - Use these to depict parts of a whole, such
as the fraction (percentage) of Journey North classrooms that
are tracking just 1 species, 2 species, 3, species, and 4 or more
Graphs - Use these to show comparisons of data with discreet
categories, such as the number of miles traveled by each of 6
Graphs - Use these to depict how something changes over time.
It applies to data that may have peaks and valleys, such as the
average number of monarchs spotted each week outside your classroom.
Graphs - Upper elementary students can use these for continuous
data (e.g., height, time, temperature, volume) to show how things
relate to one another. (Time is typically depicted on the X axis.)
For instance, students might use a line graph to depict how the
average daily temperature (or isotherm) changes over time.
Plots - These are like line graphs, but are used to represent
trends; individual data points are not connected. Once students
have plotted points on the graph from data tables, they can draw
a "line of best fit" between or near the points that offers a
visual image of the correlation between variables. From that,
they should be able to write a sentence or two that summarizes
the data (e.g., As the temperature warmed, the number of robins
sighted increased). sense of the data they collected.