Graphs display information in an organized and easy-to-read manner.They are visual representations of quantities and their relationships so they are not pictures. That graphs are pictures is a common misconception. By end of fourth grade a pupil should be able create, understand and interpret at least the basics of three types of graphs, line, bar graphs as well as pie charts.Fourth graders should learn the skills necessary to understand the importance, as well as the use of each graph. They should understand that a line graph is used to express change over a period of time, a bar graph is used to express the quantity of different items, and a pie chart is great for representing the quantity of an item out of one hundred percent. When the learners have understood each use they will be able to fully apply that knowledge into recognizing the importance of graphs in their lives especially in their political life:-)

Here’s a graph I found in my Facebook homepage. It’s an example of political bar graph, if there is such a type:-). What I love about this bar graph are the pictures they put on top. It helps one remember what these guys have been up to.

Interpreting graphs is a skill expected of a fourth grader but this post is not intended for them but for those who were once fourth graders.

Suggested questions for discussion:

1. What do the red and blue bars represent?
2. If a red bar will be next to the rightmost bar now, will it be longer or shorter than the blue bar? Estimate and explain your assumptions?
3. To what can you attribute the sharp decrease from President Reagan to G.H. W Bush?
4. What other questions can you asked based on this graph?

I hope you will have a “fruitful” discussion. Here’s one discussion in my Facebook page:

Except for the math part, this post should not be taken seriously and the graph should certainly not find their way to the classroom.  For the history of that graph read: Nancy Pelosi’s questionable chart and Chart goes viral.

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I'm a math teacher, researcher, writer, and facilitator of professional development for teachers. Email me at mathforteaching@gmail.com.