A CIESE Collaborative Project

Graphing Tips

This project lends itself well to graphing. Graphing allows scientists to see relationships between numbers. In this project, students will utilize data collected from all the participating schools and create graphs. Here's an example:

Graphs are used to show how a variable changes over time, show trends in data clearly (i.e. they visibly show how one variable can change as the other increases or decreases), and enable the viewer to make predictions about the results of data not yet recorded. A typical graph has an x-axis (horizontal) and a y-axis (vertical). The x-axis in this example shows the elevation in meters, and the y-axis represents boiling point of pure water in degrees Celsius.

Note: It is important to be aware of how graphs can be altered (skewed), because the user could be easily misled and create inaccurate conclusions. Altering graphs can occur purposely or accidentally. Graphs can be altered several ways including the practice of not using consistent scales on the axes, meaning that the values between each point along the axis are not consistent. You should keep this in mind while the students are creating the graphs.