Research-based guidance and classroom activities for teachers of mathematics

Graphs

Graphs is a theme within reasoning about data. Links to relevant activities and resources are on the right hand side of this page. 

Graphical interpretation involves at least three components:

  1. Reading the graph
  2. Reading within the graph
  3. Reading beyond the graph

Reading the graph, such as identifying or plotting particular points against the scales of the axes, while not trivial, is perhaps the most elementary component.

Reading within the graph involves understanding the general trend and interpreting particular features such as peaks or troughs within the data. Typically reading within the graph will be articulated in terms of the graph itself and extend to its wider meaning.

Reading beyond the graph involves relating the features of the graph to its wider context, which might involve some projection. A fourth component, reading behind the data, has been proposed to include those aspects of statistical literacy that raise questions about the sources of data, the sampling methods or the population from which the data were drawn.