Comparing data

Learning focus

Learn how to compare data from a chart and solve questions using addition and subtraction.

This lesson includes:

  • one learning summary
  • one video
  • two activities


Tables, pictograms and bar charts are a great way to compare and ask questions about results.


Tables use numbers. This table shows you the amount of flowers that were planted in a garden.

By looking at the table, you can easily compare the numbers.

Let's use the table to answer some questions.

Which flower was planted the most?

For this question, you look for the largest value in the column titled 'Amount planted' .

You can see that the pansy was planted the most.

How many more roses were planted than daffodils?

This question is asking you to find the difference between the two results.

Look at the table again. You need to subtract the number of daffodils (67) from the number of roses (89).

89 – 67 = 22

So there were 22 more roses planted than daffodils.

Watch the video below to see a data table being used to record the scores at a mini golf game.


A pictogram uses pictures or symbols to represent data.

Number of points collected by each group in the class

The key shows that one whole circle represents 100 points. This helps you to work out how many points were awarded to each team.

A semi-circle must represent 50 points since it’s half of the whole, and a quarter-circle must show 25 points.

How many more points did Sapphire win than Ruby?

This is another subtraction question. Sapphire was awarded 350 points and Ruby have 325 points.

350 - 325 = 25 points

So Sapphire was awarded 25 points more than Ruby.

How many points did Diamond and Emerald get altogether?

The word “altogether” means addition. Both houses have 250 points.

250 + 250 = 500 points

So Diamond and Emerald got 500 points altogether

Bar charts

A bar chart is another visual way to represent data. The heights of the bars let you automatically see the difference in results.

Class 4's favourite sports

Using the bar chart above, you can quickly see that football was the most popular sport and tennis was the least popular.

Which two sports had a difference of 4 children?

Work out how many children chose each sport and then find the two numbers with a difference of 4.

9 - 5 = 4

Rugby and swimming had a difference of 4 children.

How many children were asked about their favourite sport altogether?

For this question, add up all the results.

3 + 9 + 14 + 5 + 8 = 39


Activity 1

Try this quiz on comparing data.

Activity 2

Compare data by making your own bar chart.

What items do you have in your home that you could compare?

For example, how many tables, lamps, doors or windows do you have?

Choose categories, count the items and draw your bar chart.

There's more to learn

More Maths Guides
BBC Teach
Primary games

There's more to learn...