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Graphs and Charts 


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5. Graphs and Charts            
What happened? Answer that question, then put the results in graphs and charts.

Form a table or chart to display the data gathered during your experiment.  Then use that data to form a graph if possible.  For example, here is a fictional chart about plant growth with varying water temperature.

                   Average Plant Height in cm

Water Temperature  Day 1  Day2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
  40 degrees     10 cm      10 cm     11     12     14
  60 degrees     10 cm       11     12     14     16
  80 degrees     10 cm       14     16     18     19
100 degrees     10 cm       14     17     19      20
 control     10 cm       13     16     18      19

Tables are used to organize and display raw data. 

Use a bar graph to compare quantities.  For instance, you might use a bar graph to compare the heights daily or on a specific day. If you create your table in a spreadsheet program, it will create your bar graph for you. 

A line graph could also be used to illustrate the plant growth.  You could use one line for each plant.  Usually you want to avoid having many lines on the same graph.  Line graphs are useful for plotting many data points on the same graph.

Tables, charts, and graphs convey the information to the viewer easily without a lot of reading.  This is very desireable on your display.  You want your viewer to be able to comprehend what you have done quickly.  Tables, graphs, and charts will help you to do that.

For examples of effective use of tables, charts, and graphs check out these completed experiments:

Vanessa W.- Diaper Absorbency

Mike E.- Blade Size and Shape vs. Windmill Output 

Monique C.- Music Type vs. Naptime Behavior 

There are several software packages which will help you form graphs and charts.  If you keep your data in a spreadsheet table such as Excel, it will automatically create charts and graphs for you.  Be careful to include proper labels so that it is obvious what the graph is about. 

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Last modified: 12/28/04