Line Graphs: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

Graphs are often used in math, science, and business to represent data. Different types of graphs emphasize different aspects of data. In this lesson you will learn about the function of line graphs and how to read the parts of a line graph.

Line Graphs

Every day, Aaron does a math challenge to see how many multiplication problems he can get right in one minute. Aaron wants to keep track of his scores to see if he's improving his skill. He decides to use a line graph. A line graph shows data, or information, that changes over time. It includes a title, a scale, time labels, data points, and a connecting line. Let's look at Aaron's graph to learn more about line graphs.

line graph


The title of the graph tells what information is being displayed, and is often at the top of the graph. The sample graph has a title in green that says ''Aaron's Multiplication Challenge: Number of Problems Correct in One Minute.''


The scale is usually located along the left-hand side of the graph and contains numbers in even increments. The numbers may be separated by twos, fives, tens, or hundreds. In our sample graph, the scale is written in black. The numbers go from 0 to 30 and are separated by twos: 2, 4, 6, 8, and so forth.

Time Labels

The bottom of a line graph has time labels that show when the data is being collected. These times could be days, weeks, months, or years. Our sample graph has a time label in blue. The graph will show data points taken on different days (day 1, day 2, etc.). Because the graph doesn't specify a day of the week, we can assume that it's not important for this information.

Data Points

The data points go in the center of the graph in the grid. Each data point is lined up with a time label and a value on the scale. On our sample graph, the data points are in red. The first point is lined up with day 1 and with the number 8. Using the title, scale, and time labels, we interpret this to mean that on the first day he did the math challenge, Aaron got 8 multiplication problems correct in one minute.

Notice that the data point on day 5 falls in between the lines for 14 and 16 problems. This means that Aaron got 15 problems correct, even though there is no line for 15. Since the scale contains even numbers, the odd numbers fall between the lines on the scale.

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