How to Make a Frequency Distribution Table

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  • 0:04 Frequency Distribution Tables
  • 1:03 Making a Table
  • 1:38 An Example With Skittles
  • 2:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Nola Bridgens

Nola has taught elementary school and tutored for four years. She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, a master's degree in Marketing, and is a certified teacher.

If you are curious as to how to make a frequency distribution table, this is the lesson for you. We will learn what a frequency distribution table can be used for and how to organize data to include in a frequency distribution table.

Frequency Distribution Tables

Let's say that you have six cats. Crazy, right? If you had that many cats, you'd probably like to keep track of how often each cat goes to his/her food bowl every day because you don't want any fat cats! What you'd probably want to do to accomplish this is to write down each of their names and make marks next to them each time they eat. At the end of the day, you'd have a lot of tally marks, but your information isn't that easy to understand. However, if you put your data into a frequency distribution table, all will become clear, and you'll be able to easily see if anyone needs to go on a diet. Let's find out how to do this.

A frequency distribution table is a chart that shows the frequency of a certain outcome occurring in a data sample. It's a great way to organize data to make it simple to read and understand. The Frequency Distribution Table image shows a couple different ways a frequency table can look. Some tables have three columns that show the possible outcomes, the tally marks for each outcome, and the number of each outcome, while some tables only have two columns and do not show the tally marks.

Frequency Distribution Tables
Family Table

Making a Table

The first thing to do when making a frequency distribution table is to draw three columns on a piece of paper. Then, look through your data set and list all the possible outcomes in the data in the left column. Use the middle column to make tally marks for each time that particular outcome occurred in the data. When you've made a tally mark for each piece of data, count the tallies and write the corresponding numeral in the third column. Lastly, make sure to label each column. The first column will be labeled with a name that represents what kinds of outcomes the data represents. The second column will be labeled 'tally marks' and the third will be labeled 'frequency'.

An Example With Skittles

Now you can try! All you have to do now is get out a piece of paper and a pencil and do this problem on your own before looking at the answer.

Using the following data set, make a frequency distribution table with tally marks.

Maria recorded the color of the Skittles she pulled out of the bag: purple, yellow, green, purple, red, green, yellow, orange, yellow, blue, blue, green, purple, green, yellow, red, red, purple, orange, orange, yellow, red, blue, red, blue, green, orange, yellow, blue, red, red, green, yellow.

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