Math and science courses frequently require students to work with large amounts of data. While some students have no problem dealing with abstract numbers, some students struggle to visualize the true impact of the data on their screen. An infographic is a fun way to turn abstract data into a colorful, impactful display.
For decades, teachers have been asking students to create visual displays. From poster boards, to flip-books, to tri-fold brochures, these displays provided students an opportunity to organize complex information in an easily digestible format. An infographic is a modern adaptation of these paper-based assignments that accomplishes the same goal of teaching students to organize complex information without the necessity of rubber cement and glitter.
FREE APPS! Piktochart and Infogram are both free Chrome apps specifically focused on creating beautiful and engaging infographics.
The key element to an infographic is the underlying data. This data can come from many sources: lab experiments, community surveys, or publically available data sets. The first step in this assignment is to collect and organize the data.
Students will also need to make determinations about the conclusion or key findings their data illustrates. This is a great opportunity to talk about statistical significance, data integrity, data-driven conclusions.
After students have collected and analyzed their data, give them examples of quality infographics to review and evaluate. How was the data displayed? What types of charts and graphs were used? How was the data titled and captioned?
Finally, ask students to create their own infographic. Their infographic should be clear, easy to read, and accurately reflect the data that was collected.
This assignment can be extended over the course of several days (collect, analyze, create) or condensed into a single class period. If time is limited, provide your students with a data set rather than asking them to collect their own data. Google Trends and Google Correlate provide lots of interesting data sets that can be analyzed (check out searches for “flu symptoms” by geography and time to see if you can pinpoint a flu outbreak in the United States).
There are endless tools available for students to use to assemble their infographic. Give your students clear time parameters for this assignment as it is easy to spend days editing and adjusting an infographic. Here are a few recommended tools:
Piktochart – A free Chrome apps specifically for creating infographics. Very nice visual displays with lots of free templates.
Infogram – A free Chrome app for developing interactive infographics that allow a viewer to click and explore live data. Requires students to load their data set into the infographic.
Google Drawing – The infographic above was created in Google Drawing. The graphs are screenshots from the automatically generated displays created by Google Forms.
Google Presentation – The new chart feature available in Google Presentation makes it easy to insert a live chart based off data from a Google Sheet.
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