In this lesson, we will explore the functions and examples of a line plot. Also in this lesson, we will learn to create a line plot, create questions, and interpret data from a line plot.
What Is a Line Plot?
A line plot is a graphical display of data along a number line with Xs or dots recorded above the responses to indicate the number of occurrences a response appears in the data set. The Xs or dots represent the frequency. A line plot will have an outlier. An outlier is a number that is much greater or much less than the other numbers in the data set. A line plot consists of a horizontal line which is the x-axis with equal intervals. It is important for a line to plot to have a title and a label of the x-axis to provide the reader an overview of what is being displayed. Also, line plots must have legends to explain what is being measured.
Examples of a Line Plot
Let's imagine you just completed a survey on the number of pets a student has in their home and then created a table based on the survey results.
Number of Pets
Number of Students
In the table we can see that 4 students have 0 pets, 5 students have 1 pet, 7 students have 2 pets, 3 students have 3 pets, and 1 student has 4 pets. It is important to note that the line plots in the remainder of this lesson will look different from the one in the introduction because they were created in Microsoft excel.
As you can see, we were able to organize our data into this line plot based off the information presented in the table. Now let's create and answer some questions to gain a better understanding of a line plot.
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Which number of pets is an outlier in the data? The correct answer is 4, because only one student in the data set had four pets at their home.
What is the most common number of pets in a student's home? The correct answer is 2; it is the most frequent occurrence in the data set.
How many students have no pets at home? The correct answer is 4. If you look on the x-axis and find the number zero, then we can count up to the yellow dot and see that 4 have no pets at home.
How many students have more than three pets at home? The correct answer is 1; there is only one student with 4 pets at their home in this data set.
How many students responded to the survey? There was a total of 20 students that responded to the survey. To find this answer we have to add 4 + 5 + 7 + 3 + 1, which equals 20.
Constructing a Line Plot
Earlier in this lesson, we learned that a line plot must have certain features. Take a moment and examine this line plot.
1. The first step in creating a line plot is to give the line plot a title that will provide an overview of the data being displayed. The title of this graph is 'Favorite Sport.'
2. Second, draw and label the x-axis, which is the specific category being observed. In this graph, we are observing the amount students and their preferred sport.
3. Third, plot the dots or Xs above the responses in the data set.
4. Fourth, identify outliers.
In this lesson, we defined a line plot as a graphical display of data along a number line with Xs or dots recorded above the responses to indicate the number of occurrences a response appears in a data set. We learned that line plots have outliers, which are the numbers that are much greater or much less than the other numbers in the data set. Also, we learned that a line plot has one axis. The x-axis shows the specific category being measured. Each line plot has the features of a title, key, and dots or Xs displaying data. Please remember a line plot is useful for recording and interpreting discrete data.
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