Introduction to Pictographs

Representing data pictorially in the form of graphs and charts helps us understand the information in an easier, quicker and meaningful way.   

Just a simple glance at the image below conveys all the information about the situation and replaces the need to write out a long statement. This makes interpreting and understanding the data much simpler and saves a lot of time!

The Big Idea: What are pictographs?

Pictographs are the introduction to data handling. They help in laying the foundation of data interpretation based on pictorial information

It’s essential for children to start with pictographs, as they are the gateway. Kids get introduced to the concept by being asked to work on everyday objects, so that they are eased into the topic. Have a look at the question below:

The solution to this problem is fairly straightforward, and having a familiar object to work with, allows children to relate to the subject more.
Ans: Blue balls < Green balls < Red balls

Remember, pictographs merely serve as in introduction to the vast world of data analysis, they aren’t meant to a robust statistical tool. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use pictographs to represent a lot of useful data, especially in conjunction with other data representation tools. Take a look at how pictographs, being used in tandem with Pie Charts (Click for more information on pie charts), help enrich the information being conveyed.

Why Pictographs? Why are they important?

For kids and learners, pictographs are an excellent way to associate numbers with commonly used objects and thus helps in grasping mathematical concepts faster and clearer, creating interest in the subject matter. 

When we move onto scaled pictographs, students can rearrange and distinguish between the different types of data buckets and eventually work with larger data sets.  

Have a crack at another pictograph to see how useful a teaching tool they can be for yourself!

How Pictographs Differ? When to Use Them?

It’s easy to understand that pictographs are primitive forms of the more advanced charts and graphs used to represent data with greater depth and clarity. As a result, pictographs, as discussed previously, can be used primarily for making early learners and younger students to associate objects with numbers and help in visually formatting statistics. 

Representing numbers with images can help students understand how those numbers relate to each other. Commonly a part used in money math, scaled picture graphs or pictographs are great for representing data using pictures. The word scale is used to indicate that the picture used confirms to a properly defined value.

Pictographs may lack advanced features but are still of benefit to properly link data structures when learning for the first time.

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