Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Graphs, and addresses standards about displaying data on graphs and understanding the differences between bar graphs, pictographs, line graphs, and pie charts. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects and activities.


Display different types of graphs and charts. There are many good ones at Britannica KidsAsk:

  • Why do people use graphs?
  • Why would a graph be more useful than numbers and words alone?


  • Read aloud the description below the Movie player.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding.
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “Famous Faces” or “Plus/Minus.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY

Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects or activities. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Primary Source Activity: Between 1896 and 1910, American civil rights activist and writer W. E. B. Du Bois researched social and economic conditions of African Americans in cities like Philadelphia and Atlanta. His use of graphs helped introduce statistics into the study of sociology. Examine the graphs and cite details to answer the accompanying questions.
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying different types of graphs, their features, and real life examples of when you might use each type..
  • Creative Coding: Code a sorting game challenging players to identify traits of different types of graphs. 


  • Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about graphs. Prompt them by asking questions such as:
    • Why is it important that we learn about different types of graphs and how to read them?
    • How does someone determine the right type of graph to use to display their data?
    • Why are graphs helpful?
  • Assess: Wrap up the lesson with a Graphs Quiz. You can also challenge students to interpret a graph and answer accompanying questions.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments