What is a pictograph?

What is a pictograph? A graph is a visual way to display information. A pictograph is a special type of graph that uses pictures or symbols to display information. The pictures or symbols in a pictograph usually represent more than one item. The following is an example of a pictograph:


The pictograph above has a title and a scale. 

  • The title of this pictograph is "Number of circles drawn"
  • The scale that the pictograph is using is this: One circle represents 5 circles.

Let us say that the circles were drawn by David, Peter, John, Brown, and Jennifer.

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

How did we get 7.5 for John? 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.

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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