Types of graphs

There are many types of graphs. This lesson will show you how to identify some of them. Learning to read and create graphs are very useful skills in mathematics.

Graphs help us to visualize data and the things that we see on the graph may help us to interpret and analyze the data.

The end result is usually a better perspective that may not have been possible just by looking at a bunch of numbers.

The most common types of graphs are pictographs, bar graphs, double bar graphs, line graphs, and circle graphs. In this lesson, you will learn about pictographs.

Types of graphs : What are pictographs?

A graph is a visual way to display information.

A pictograph is a graph that uses pictures or symbols to display information.

The pictures in a pictograph usually represent more than one item.

The following is a pictograph:


The graph above has a title and a scale. Let us say that the circles were drawn by David, Peter, John, Brown, and Jennifer.

The title of this pictograph is "Number of circles drawn"

The scale that the pictograph is using is this: One circle represents 5 circles.

Having said that we can make the following observations:

David drew 15 circles since we have 3 circles and each circle represents 5 circles (5 times 3 = 15).

John drew 7.5 circles. How did we get 7.5?

Note that if a circle represents 5 circles, half a circle will represent 5/2 circles or 2.5 circles. Add 5 circles to 2.5 circles to get 7.5 circles.

Jennifer drew 20 circles since we have 4 circles and each circle represents 5 circles (5 times 4 = 20).

An exercise that will show you how to construct a pictograph


Construct a pictograph with the following table

Number of taxi drivers in 5 cities

You can follow this guideline in order to construct the pictograph.

  • For this pictograph, we can draw faces to represent the drivers.
  • We can still use the same title "Number of taxi drivers in five cities"
  • Since we are really dealing with very big numbers here, we can just use 1 face to represent 5 taxi drivers. 

Suppose for instance, you were dealing with very big numbers such as hundreds of drivers in a city, you could have used 1 face to represent 100 drivers. 

Here is the pictograph.

Pictograph for the number of drivers in 5 cities.

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