Graph essays present a written way for math students to interpret and explain information on a graph. There are many types of graphs, so it's important to understand the graph format and how to read the graph. After determining a way to read the graph and to interpret its information, you need to write an essay that presents the information. You will need expository writing skills and mathematical skills.
Interpret the graph information. For example, on a bar graph that details the quantity of rainfall per month during a 12-month period, read each bar and clearly indicate the method of measurement. Identify any labels such as those that indicate months. Write the information you have interpreted from the graph in clear sentences and in list form, such as "In August, there were 12 inches of rainfall."
Make a hypothesis about the information drawn from the graph. Analyze the graph to see what information you can deduce from the results. For example, "Based on graph information, it is reasonable to hypothesize that reduced snowfall in December translated to increased rainfall in July." If you have outside information that will help explain any patterns or inconsistencies you see, make note of the information so that you can include it in your essay.
Begin with a general introduction. Typically, introductions in expository essays give basic information such as what type of graph you will be writing about and the information it displays. Include five to eight sentences that describe general observations from the graph. Create three sub-topics that you can discuss in your body paragraphs. These sub-topics should explain your hypothesis. End the introductory paragraph with your hypothesis.
Write body paragraphs, taking care to verify that each paragraph supports your hypothesis. For a pie graph that displays information about student populations in inner city schools, the hypothesis might state, "85 percent of the student population receives free and reduced lunch because of poor economic conditions in the community." The body paragraphs would need to discuss student population data, free and reduced lunch statistics and how this information equates to poor economic conditions.
Conclude your essay with a paragraph that explains why your hypothesis is correct. Support your statements with evidence from the graph and your essay. Often, it helps to draw on outside data supported by the particular graph you analyze. Include resources that provide unbiased statistical or mathematical data so that your essay remains as objective as possible.
- ['Graph', 'Word processing software (or pen and lined notebook paper)', 'Calculator']
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