10 Fun Graphing Activities For High School Students

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High school is an exciting phase of one’s life. So much to learn, and also, there is so much fun! However, this is also the time when students make some choices that well over pave their life. Academic performance is needed too, and the subjects get harder! One such concept is graphing, which is not only a part of mathematics, but in high school, it used in other concepts too, like:

  • Algebra
  • Conics
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Laws of Motion
  • Data Analytics & Statistics

Not just limited to being a subject in your academia, graphs will be relevant for working professionals like engineers, doctors, etc. So, graphing is a life skill! And, if you have been iffy about it, don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be complex and boring. With the right methods, graphs and charts are fun and interesting. 

In this post, you will find more information on:

  • Graphing for High Schoolers
  • How do activities help students with Graphing
  • Ten Graphing Activities

Graphing for high schoolers

From newspapers to bills to even the doctor’s reports, graphing has become an inevitable part of today’s lives. This means that students are not just analyzing data and interpreting it in their high school, but, later on, when they are ready to step up as adults, it would remain a part and parcel of their life. This calls for a deeper understanding of this subject. 

So, let us begin with a simple definition. 

A graph is a visual representation of data and is a vital tool to understand the relationship between two things and concepts. A graph has two axis, the X and the Y, which are two separate parameters being studied in relation with one another for a subject.

For example- Current increases with an increase in voltage and decreases with an increase in resistance. When you graphically explain this, students understand it better. You can have two graphs, one with current and voltage and the other with current and resistance as the X and the Y-axis. This will help kids remember the dynamic between these factors. 

Although graphs exist for the purpose of making data analysis easier, we get it! Some kids may have trouble with graphs, but nothing to worry about! Fun activities meant for late adolescents can help them excel at graphing within a few sessions.

How do activities help high schoolers in understanding graphing?

Conventional graph teaching methods exist, so, why does one have to employ newer ones? Here are some reasons why educators should opt for activities to teach a new subject like graphing:

  • Continuous lectures on complex subjects may become boring sometimes. Activities pour some fun into the process.
  • Activities enable students to think outside the box. New fun ways of teaching empower a student’s innovative and creative power to shine through.
  • These graphing activities demonstrate real-life examples. Students find it difficult to relate how graphs might be useful in daily life, but, when they see an example that is likely to play out, it would also encourage them to think outside the box. 
  • Graphing activities bring out greater involvement from students, which results in greater understanding. The whole process makes learning easy.
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Simple activities to excel graphs and charts in high school

1. What’s your equation?

In this activity, students are supposed to make graphs with the help of digital tools. These tools enable students to get the hang of graph functions, equations, and calculations. 

The first step would be to make students write any equation of their choice. Followed by designing their own graph or shape for it. 

The tool would display each student’s graph on the same screen. The teachers would help them understand the properties of equations and later discuss them in the class. 

For example-

  1. Concentric circles: Each student will write one equation of the circle.
  2. Name of their section/school using equations of straight line, circle, parabola, etc.
  3. Landscape – 1. Waves(sinx,cosx) + Sun(circle) + Mountain(parabola,hyperbola)
  4. Planets orbiting Sun (Circles & Ellipses)

Here are some free online digital tools to use-

  1. Math is fun
  2. Desmos
  3. Geogebra
  4. Phet Interactive Solutions

2. Cut those cones

Ask each student to bring one conical-shaped object from their home. It could be anything such as a party cone, an ice cream cone, an old funnel, carrot, radish, etc. Now ask them to cut its sections and explain conic sections to them.

Students can graph the section they have cut on the graph paper, and the teachers can ask questions based on that.

3. Budget graphing

Give students personal budgeting worksheets. Teach them data analysis and statistics by giving examples of your budget analysis. Histograms, Pie-charts, Line graphs can be used to represent and analyze income, expenses, savings, plans for long-term goals. This activity can be done at home as well, as this is beneficial for a student’s personal growth.

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4. Graph on wheels

This is a fun cycling activity. It’s a race that is not about winning but about following the graph. Each participant will be given different graphs of distance VS time. They have to maintain their speeds according to the graph. Students can use speedometers to measure their speed. The added advantage of this activity is that it even promotes fitness and keeps students’ physical health in check. 

In each graph, there must be portions of different velocities to make it challenging. Graphs will be designed such that each participant will reach the finish line at the same time. To make it even more interesting, you can make teams of three to four cyclists for each graph. All the team members will be in contact with each other through Bluetooth devices. One member will constantly monitor the graph and let other members know whether they are moving at the right speed. 

Apart from graphing, students here would also master teamwork, strategy, and precision.

5. Plot it out

‘Plot it out’ is all about plotting the points in graph sheets while teachers dictate the data. Data can be based on research that is relevant to the daily life of high schoolers.

For Example:

  • Smoking cigarettes VS asthma and risk of lung cancer
  • Days after quitting tobacco VS improvement in health
  • Fast food consumption VS weight 
  • Exercise VS Fitness
  • Meditation VS emotional mastery
  • Reading VS intelligence

6. The scatter experiment

Every school has a common area, and this activity involves using that area. Students need to put up a big graph in the common area for this activity and then plot points daily. This is an experiment carried out on finding out whether a correlation exists or not and, if it exists, what its nature is. 

It includes-

  1. Coming late to the class vs. Depth of understanding of the topic
  2. Type of breakfast vs. Attentiveness in class
  3. What you are thinking vs. What you are feeling

 Students can draw monthly or yearly conclusions based on the data.

7. See the music

Did you know that in a music equalizer, bars at the left represent base, and bars on the right represent treble? It is a histogram of sound frequencies. You can play music in the class and discuss how histogram changes with different types of musical genres. Through this activity, students can learn more on how to use these graphing tools better, and later, when they listen to music at home, they will be able to correlate with what was taught in the class.

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8. Favorites’ pie

In this activity, teachers would collect information from students about their favorite genre of movies, favorite leisure time activities, favorite career options, etc. Discuss the data with them and make pie charts based on the data. 

For instance, if the sample 100 kids, and 50 like Pasta, then, pasta gets half the pie. Say, 20 liked Curry, it gets short of a quarter chunk of the pie, and ice cream gets the rest of the pie. 

Such realistic activities help students understand the various kinds of graphing tools and also teach them how graphs can be used in real life. 

9. A grapher’s quiz

This activity begins with teams of three or four. Then, conduct a quiz session where children have to answer questions by interpreting the graphs. The benefit that quizzes have over any other teaching method is that they trigger competitiveness in students, which helps them learn a particular concept. Also, this would be a fun way to check their aptitude. This activity also inculcates teamwork, as students are divided into sets of three/four. 

10. Discussion on graphs

Discuss the vast areas of application that graphs enjoy in different fields. From a FitBit watch to a Stock market broker, they are all equipped with graphs. Allow your students to come back to you with more illustrations. This also boosts the creative thinking and critical thinking attributes of a child.

Conclusion

Learning how to read and prepare graphs and charts has long-term utilities, and so, we must encourage our kids to learn graphing. However, the old boring methods can be repulsive. Ultimately, it becomes the job of a teacher to help their students learn it appropriately. This is where they can make use of modern-age teaching methods, including digital tools, which aren’t just effective but fun too. Conducting activities regularly can work wonders for students having difficulty in learning.

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