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Practice with Pictographs

Instructor: Carla Palomino
In this lesson, learn how to collect information, and then use pictures to show your data and make decisions. You'll also learn how to read a pictograph's key.

Making and Using Pictographs

A pictograph is a graph that organizes information using pictures.

Imagine you want to know what the favorite sport is among your classmates; let's say you want to play it with your friends after school on your birthday. It seems hard because there are many students in your class. Hold on a second - it becomes really easy when you learn how to create a pictograph!

1. Create a graph and write the possible answers or categories along one axis or line. In this case, we'll use the horizontal line (basketball, soccer, football, softball, and volleyball).

2. Collect your data or information. Ask each of your classmates what his or her favorite sport is. Don't try to remember what they say, simply draw a star to represent each student's opinion. Each new picture of a star goes above that sport's name. (For example, Maria told you her favorite sport is soccer so you draw a star in the soccer column).

3. Once you have asked everyone in your class, count the number of stars along each vertical line to see how many like each sport.

The favorite sport of students
pictograph

As you can see in the example, 8 students said they like basketball, 6 students said they like soccer, 3 students said they like softball, 4 students said they like volleyball, and 7 students said they like football.

Using a Key to Understand a Pictograph's Symbols

Imagine that your teacher wants you to find out the most popular sport in your school. Don't panic when you find out your school has 280 students. How are you going to draw 280 stars?

Whenever you have a lot of data to use in your pictorgraph, you can use a key. The key tells you the number of things represented for each picture. In this case, every time you draw this boy, that means 10 students chose that sport.

This key tells you the number of students represented for each picture
key

To complete this assignment, follow the exact same steps you followed before:

1. Create a graph, and write the possible answers along the horizontal line.

2. Collect your data. Ask students their favorite sport. Mark a piece of paper with each student answer; when you get to 10 marks for a sport, draw a boy on the pictograph in the column above the sport name. That one boy will mean 10 students like that particular sport.

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