Misleading Graphs Lesson Plan Critique

Lesson Overview

Title: Misleading Graphs Are Da’PITS!

This lessons was designed to have students use technology and websites to discover the 5 components that a graph may contain to make the information accurate.

Cartoon 1

Cartoon 2

Students are to discuss the joke in both cartoons which depicted misleading and confusing information about data representations. Next the students engage in a discussion about the differences in two bar graphs using a bar graph worksheet. Students are then introduced to an acronym they could use to help them remember the components of  a graph that must be included in order for information in the graph to be displayed accurately. Acronym – DaPITS. D-Data, P-bars in the proper proportion, I-interval, T-title/labels,and S-scale. Student are to work in groups and use the acronym DaPITS to discuss why the graph provided by the teachers contains misleading information. This lesson plan also included extension activities and other resources about about misleading graphs.

This was a well-organized lesson that used interactive activities so that students could discover how to display data accurately. The use of acronyms is an excellent tool teachers can use to help their students remember key components of a lesson or the steps to solving a problem. By using discussion as a way to have the students figure out the misleading information, the teacher is using the analysis and evaluation levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Another extension to this lesson, give students several examples of misleading data and have them draw conclusions about which audience the data might have been designed for or which set of data appeals to them and why..  It’s important that our students are aware of misleading data and representations because they are one of the larger groups of consumers. With that being said , real life and relevent data should be used.

Lesson Plan: http://alex.state.al.us/lesson_view.php?id=26406

Cartoon #1: http://smallbiztrends.com/2008/09/instantly-improve-your-sales-numbers.html

Cartoon #2: http://geogontobetterthings.wordpress.com/2008/06/08/data-presentation/


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Maria Droujkova
    Aug 11, 2010 @ 11:21:19

    I agree that real data, in addition to cartoons, would make it more relevant. If students have internet-capable devices (computers or smartphones) they can spend some time searching for graphs online and try and find misleading ones.


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