Pictographs and Bar Graphs

Understanding how to read and interpret pictographs and bar graphs is a second grade, Common Core math skill: 2.MD.10. Below we show two videos that demonstrate this standard. Then, we provide a breakdown of the specific steps in the videos to help you teach your class.

Prior Learnings

Your students will have learned how to measure objects through non-standard units, like using paperclips to measure a pencil (1.MD.1). They should also be able to compare objects using terms like longer, shorter, longest, and shortest (1.MD.2). 

Future Learnings

In the future, understanding how to measure objects with a ruler will help your students expand on and apply the concept elsewhere. Students will be able to make a line plot, measure objects, and place those measurements on the plot (2.MD.9). Your students will also be able to use rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch (3.MD.3) and apply “linear measurement to measure perimeter and area” (3.MD.5- 8).

Common Core Standard: 2.MD.10 - Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories and solve problems using bar graphs

Students who understand this principle can:

  1. Collect up to 4 categories of data.
  2. Draw pictographs and bar graphs.
  3. Answer questions about graphs with 4 categories at most. 
  4. Solve different types of problems (simply put-together, take-apart and compare) using bar graphs.

2 Videos to Help You Teach Common Core Standard: 2.MD.10

Below we provide and breakdown two videos to help you teach your students this standard.

Video 1: Counting Sea Glass via Graphs

This video follows Maria and her attempt to create a picture graph representing the sea glass she has collected on the beach. She wants to make jewelry for her friends.

She creates a table depicting how many of each color she collected and wants to turn the table into a pictograph.

  1. Maria divides the information up by color.
  2. Each picture means 1 piece of sea glass.
  3. By counting the pictures in each category, Maria can answer questions about the sea glass stones she’s collected.

The video asks 2 questions about the data represented: (1) How many green pieces did Maria find? She found 8. (2) Which color did she find the least of? She found the least amount of yellow; she only found 4. Students can answer these questions by counting the pictures in each category.

The video then turns the information into a bar graph. The bottom tells the categories, and the left side tells how much belongs in each category. Viewers are then asked how many pieces of sea glass Maria found in total.

  1. By adding up the numbers in each bar, students can find the total.
  2. 8 + 4 + 6 + 10 = ?
  3. The answer is 28; Maria found 28 pieces of sea glass.

Video 2: Reading Pictographs: Pets and School Subjects

 The video starts by showing an example of a pictograph. The graph shows the types of pets Sabrina’s classmates have. Each picture of a paw print equals one pet.

Boddle explains that the pictograph represents data using pictures, and that data is a collection of information usually organized in a graph. 

  1. The part of the graph that represents rabbits has 4 paw prints.
    a. So, 4 of Sabrina’s classmates have rabbits as pets.
  2. The part that represents dogs has 8 paw prints. 
    a. So, 8 of Sabrina’s classmates have dogs as pets.
  3. The part that represents other pets has 3 paw prints.
    a. So, 3 of Sabrina’s classmates have pets other than dogs and rabbits.
  4. What type of pet is the most common in Sabrina’s class?
    a. Dogs are the most common.

The video gives another example of a pictograph, representing the students’ favorite subjects in school. A smiley face is used to represent 2 students who like that subject.

  1. Math has 8 smiley faces.
    a. Since each smiley face represents 2 students, we must count by 2s to find the number of students who favor math.
    b. The answer is 16, so 16 students like math.
  2. Reading has 4 smiley faces. 
    a. Counting by 2s shows that 8 students like reading.
  3. Science has 3 smiley faces.
    a. Counting by 2s shows that 6 students like science.

Boddle asks viewers to identify which subjects students like the most, and which one they like the least by reading the information on the graph. Students like math the most and science the least.

Want more practice?

Give your students additional standards-aligned practice with Boddle Learning. Boddle includes questions related to Comparing and Measuring Lengths plus rewarding coins and games for your students to keep them engaged. Click here to sign up for Boddle Learning and create your first assignment today.

*Information on standards is gathered from The New Mexico Public Education Department's New Mexico Instructional Scope for Mathematics and the Common Core website.