Estimated Lesson Duration:

Three stand-alone lessons, each one class period



This lesson includes three graphing lessons that can be taught independently or as a unit to help students analyze and explain graphs. Includes lessons on 1) using graphs to infer relationships between variables; 2) common mistakes and intentional distortions in graphs; and 3) interpreting a graph and writing a narrative summary. The lessons are intended to help students analyze and explain graphs and are not intended to help students make their own graphs.


Key Concepts and Standards:

 Key Concepts: How to read and explain a line graph, pie chart and bar graph. How to identify common mistakes or distortions that are made when graphing that can lead to misunderstanding of the data.

  • Lesson 1 – Using Graphs to Inferring Relationships between Variables
    •  Goal: To infer the relationships between variables by analyzing the slope of a graph.
  •  Lesson 2 – Common Mistakes or Intentional Distortions in Graphs
    •  Goal: To compare and contrast graphs in order to identify graphs that have errors and have been distorted in order to misrepresent the relationship between variables.
  •  Lesson 3 – Interpreting a Graph and Writing a Narrative Summary
    •  Goal:  To locate, read and interpret data from a line graph, bar graph or pie chart; identify pattern; deduce relationships and formulate generalizations. To form a logical argument that is supported by the graph or chart and to clearly and concisely express it in their written conclusion.


  • NGSS performance expectations related to “analyzing and interpreting data” for middle school
  • Common core mathematics standards related to statistical association or trends (including two-way tables, bivariate measurement data, scatter plots, trend line, line of best fit, correlation).
  • Common Core ELA standards related to Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
    Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).


Preparations/ Materials

• Review and background information and sources for the teacher


Downloadable Lesson and Supporting Materials

Lesson Plans