BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

20 October 2014
Schools - Teachers

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Schools Home > Teachers > KS2 Lesson Plans > Maths > Interpreting data

Interpreting data - lesson plan

Print page


A man on a desert islandTo draw and interpret a bar graph based on grouped data.

National Curriculum

Ma4, 2b.


You will need Adobe Acrobat reader to access the PDF files. BBC Webwise has a complete guide to downloading and installing Adobe Acrobat reader.

Teaching activities


  1. Show the children the clip Robinson Crusoe animation - tallying about the importance of organising data.
  2. Draw a large tally chart on the board showing three labelled columns - 'hair colour', 'tally' and 'total'.
  3. Place hair-colour signs around the room - 'black', 'brown', 'blonde', 'red' and 'other'.
  4. Ask the children to move to the area that corresponds to their hair colour.
  5. Discuss any discrepancies with hair colour and decide if another column is needed for any children in the 'other' section.
  6. Ask several children to help fill in the pre-drawn bar chart with the information collected in the tally chart.
  7. Show the children the clip Are dogs the most popular pets? about the importance of asking the correct questions when gathering information.


Lower ability - Create a frequency table showing the different eye colours of the children in the class, fill in the table using tally marks. Convert the information from the table into a pictogram.

Middle ability - Play the Bitesize Interpreting data activity. Show the children how to fill in the tally/frequency chart, bar chart and pictogram on the activity. The children can then take it in turns to work in small groups or pairs on the class computer to complete the activity.

Higher ability - Ask the children to watch the clip Bar graphs explained through a song - "Special chart on my bedroom wall". Ask the children to get into pairs and compile their own tally charts of grouped data using playing cards. Select 30 cards randomly from a pack and see how many times the different cards come out. Some data will need to be grouped - for example, number cards 2 to 5, number cards 6 to 10, aces, picture cards. Ask the children to turn this data into a bar chart.


Let some of the children talk through their tally charts and bar graphs with the rest of the class. Did anything unusual occur? Which was the most popular group?.


Ask the children to work through the Bitesize interpreting data quiz or to complete the interpreting data worksheet (PDF 65KB).


Ask the children to take home the playing card tally charts and bar graphs they have been working on and turn them into pictograms. Each symbol in the pictogram must represent more than 1.

Back to top 

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy