Data Handling: Graphs
Research has shown that data handling causes some problems for children in Science. What in particular do children find difficult at this transition stage?
 Transferring information from tables to graphs
 Knowing what type of graph to use
 Identifying their own errors when constructing graphs
 Understanding scale on the vertical axis
 Using a graph to interpolate and extrapolate information
 Remembering basic rules to create graphs
 Using data to draw conclusions, support predictions and hypotheses

 Describing patterns in a line graph
 Describing relationships and links between actions
 Recognising the importance of scale
 Knowing how to select the appropriate scale for the horizontal and vertical axes
 Plotting the line of best fit
 Remembering standard conventions such as labeling axes and giving a graph title
 Knowing that not all scales start with zero

 Explaining results  telling the story of the graph
 Understanding why some measurements need to be repeated and when they should be taken
 Referring to data in graphs to substantiate statements
 Knowing how to evaluate graphs  is the evidence reliable?
 Describing and explaining data in a graph using scientific knowledge
 Recognising and explaining unexpected results
 Discussing variation in data

It can be useful to provide a selfcheck list so children can plan targets. An example of a graph selfcheck list is available here in an editable format so you can adapt it for your own use.
Cognitive Skills
In order to help children get to grips with these data handling skills, it is helpful to appreciate the progression of cognitive skills and set work that will move children from simple to more complex levels of understanding.
One useful approach is to base questioning on a cognitive model