ABC's of Things to Graph

Graphing things seems like it can be really hard doesn't it? All of those dots and grids can be very hard for even the smartest people to put down on paper. Students may wonder why anyone would want to make a graph in the first place. To put it simply, graphs can help people understand a large volume of information that relates to each other. For instance, profit margins are presented in graph form so that they can be easily viewed by people who may not be able to understand all of the data. Even though they can be complicated to assemble, graphs are actually much easier to read than they are to "write." Someone looking at a graph will be able to grasp the information quickly and easily.


There are many different types of graphs. For example, graphs of functions that simply display how much something has risen or fallen during a set period of time is easier to visualize. Graphs can be complicated to understand so you should start with something a little easier. Before a student starts getting into graphing more abstract things, they should try starting with something that's a little simpler to visualize. Encourage the students to look at that sheet of graphing paper in front of them and try to visualize an actual shape on that graph so their mind can begin adapting to the process of graphing. That makes it a lot easier to understand how graphing works.

Try starting them out with simple shapes at first - easy things like, say, an orange, which is just a circle. A bunch of dots are put onto graph paper so that they form a big circle. That's very simple. Then move onto something bigger - say a palm tree. Have them first graph a large trunk and then get them to graph the tree's "leaves."

Graphs can look like all sorts of different objects you see every day. Try getting them to graph the objects listed below so they can better understand how graphs should be put together and then once they've grasped the basics, move on to more abstract graphing objects.

A: Animals

B: Birthdays

C: Coin Toss

D: Digging for Dinosaurs

E: How Do You Like Your Eggs?

F: See How Falcons Fly?

G: Let's Unlock That Gate

H: What A Nice Ham!

I: Gross - An Insect!

J: How Jumping Jacks Can You Do?

K: Look - A Kangaroo!

L: Climb That Ladder

M: Follow That Mouse

N: Check Out That Bird Nest!

O: What A Pretty Orange

P: Are You Using A Pencil For This?

Q: How Many Quaters Are In A Dollar

R: Rowboats Rowing

S: Silly Snakes

T: Look At How Big That Train Is!

U: How Many Raindrops on a Umbrella

V: The Strings On A Violin!

W: Look At That Spider Web

X: How Many Notes Does A Xylophone Have?

Y: How Many Yards In A Football Field?

Z: How Many Stripes Are On A Zebra!

  • Create A Graph: Shows different types of graphs.
  • Graphing Worksheets: Offers different types of worksheets that are arranged by grade level.
  • Birthday Graphs: Describes how to construct a birthday graph.
  • Bug Graphs: A list of many types of graphs that form bugs.
  • Graphing Examples: More advanced examples of what graphs should look like.

Some information can only be effectively communicated through graphs. It's important that everyone who ever attends school, even those obtaining online degrees understand how graphing works.

Published: 2010-01-20