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ZingPath: Bar, Line, and Circle Graphs

Interpreting Bar Graphs

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Bar, Line, and Circle Graphs

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Interpreting Bar Graphs

Math Foundations

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You will increase the score of the game with the help of a bar graph.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Interpret bar graphs to make a prediction.

Everything You'll Have Covered

A bar graph is a visual representation of a set of data.

A bar graph is a graph that compares different amounts using bars. Each rectangular bar represents the value of a specific group or category. Bar graphs are typically used when comparing categorical data. Categorical data is data that can be placed into categories that are mutually exclusive.


In this example taken from the Activity Object, the bar graph represents the number of eggs dropped by each chicken. The chickens are categorical data because each chicken is a category that stands alone. The bars show the number of eggs dropped.

Though you can extract trends between bars (e.g., they are gradually getting longer or shorter), you cannot determine changes over time or determine a slope. Each bar in the graph is independent from one another.

Bar graphs are created using the x- and y-axes on a coordinate grid.

The x-axis and y-axis are two lines that create the coordinate plane.аThe

x-axis is a horizontal line and the y-axis is a vertical line.


In the above bar graph, the x-axis represents the grade level. This is the categorical data. Because the categorical data appears on the x-axis, this is a vertical bar graph.

The bar graphs used in this Activity Object are vertical bar graphs because the categorical data or chickens appear on the x-axis. The numerical or quantitative data, which is the number of eggs dropped, appears on y-axis as shown below.


Interpreting bar graphs requires the use of all of the parts of a graph.

Interpret means to explain the meaning of something. In this case, when we interpret a bar graph we are "telling the story" of the graph. A graph can be read just as we read a book or story. In order to interpret a bar graph accurately, we must pay attention to all parts of the graph: the title, the labels for the axes, and the key or legend. Then, we use this information to explain what we see in the graph.


In order to interpret this graph from the Activity Object, we must review all of the parts of the graph.

иа title - The title of the graph is the "Number of Eggs Dropped by Chickens". The title tells me what the graph is about much like the title of a book or story.

иа labels of axes - The labels of the axes provide more details; the x-axis is the chickens, the y-axis is the number of eggs dropped by each chicken.

иа bars - In this case, the bars show us how many eggs each chicken dropped.

Now, we can use the information to summarize what we see. The 3rd chicken dropped the most eggs. The 4th chicken dropped the second largest amount of eggs. The 2nd chicken dropped the least number of eggs. This interpretation will help us make a prediction about how to collect the largest number of eggs for the next games.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 15 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with bar graphs and interpreting bar graphs.
Course Math Foundations
Type of Tutorial Skills Application
Key Vocabulary bar graph, analyze data, graphs