## Wednesday, August 24, 2011

### Chart(er) School, Part I

OK, I admit the title is misleading. I don't mean those semi-autonomous, accountable schools.

I mean teaching kids how to make charts that display data in a meaningful way. We do this throughout all grades of our Excel Math elementary curriculum. Here are some of the charts we help kids understand and build: [click on the chart to enlarge]

I went on a hunt for more charts. Here's an alphabetized list of wacky charts - I just learned about many of these myself:
1. Area chart
2. Bar chart (horizontal or vertical)
3. Box chart or plot
4. Bubble chart
5. Bullet chart
6. Bump charts
7. Candlestick chart
9. Gantt chart
10. Heat map
11. High-Low chart
12. Histogram chart
13. Horizon chart
14. Line chart
15. Marimekko chart
16. Pie chart
17. Pyramid chart
18. Scatter chart
20. Step chart
21. Stripe chart
22. Tally chart
23. Tree map (squarified)
24. Triangle chart
25. Waterfall chart
Once we get past our first few years of chart-making (crayons, markers, manipulatives), we tend to start using spreadsheets, where creative programmers do all the work. They allow you to click and create charts with very little effort.

That doesn't mean you should make them without thinking, NOR does it mean that later in life when your job depends upon it, that you will find that making charts is an easy job.

NOTE: a friend of Excel Math got an exciting opportunity a few years ago making graphics for  ESPN. Although she and her team have lots of nifty software tools, they still have to watch the sporting activities, look for trends and background data, then rapidly create charts on-the-fly to put up on the screen. A high-stress, but fun job.

In the process of my research on this subject I found a number of interesting resources related to chart-making. Why don't you have a good look around your charting universe, and we'll meet up again tomorrow and compare notes?