Histogram Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jeremy Cook

I have been teaching elementary school for 16 years. I have extensive experience in lesson and curriculum development and educational technology.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The same is true in math. Graphs are visual pictures of numbers and data, and they can show us what those numbers are saying. This lesson will explain what a histogram is and how it shows a picture of data.

What is a Histogram?

A histogram is a type of graph that shows data in the form of a picture. Data is facts and statistics collected to analyze or reference. When data is collected, no matter what type of data that is, it's most often put into a graph so we can visually see what the numbers are saying.

A histogram is very similar to a bar graph. The main difference between the two is that a bar graph usually has a single value that names each bar, and a histogram has a range of numbers that name each bar.

A histogram uses bars to represent a range of data
Petal Histogram

When to Use a Histogram

Different charts and graphs are used depending on what kind of data you are working with and how the data is organized. Histograms are used when you have data that falls in ranges, whereas a bar graph shows data for a specific number or name.

Let's look at an example. Imagine you want to ask 200 people if they like pickle ice cream. But you want to know more than just who likes and dislikes that flavor, you also want to know the ages of those people who like the ice cream the most and the ages of those people who like it the least. So you use a histogram.

Chances are, out of 200 people, you'd have a lot of different ages, so making a bar for each year would make too big a graph. Instead, you would make age ranges. So one range could be 3 years to 10 years, then you could have 11 years to 21 years, and so on. Each range would be a bar and every person who liked the ice cream would give their age and would fall into one of those ranges. Then you could see what age range liked pickle ice cream the most and what range liked it the least.

Example 1 Pickle Ice Cream Histogram
Histogram Ice Cream

If you look at the chart, you can see that each bar represents an age group. Since the highest bar is the blue bar, we can look at the key and see that the blue bar is people ages 3 to 10 years old. They had the most people who liked the ice cream. The shortest bar is people aged 80-plus.

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