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Describing Graphs

One of the most common types of graphs in the sciences is and X-Y scatter plot in which one variable is plotted against another. A graph of elevation versus horizontal distance is a good example and an intuitive starting point for geoscience students. Students should be able to describe what data is being graphed, the range of values, and how the data (elevation in this case) changes as one moves out from the origin using such descriptors as gradually increases, decreases rapidly, or increases rapidly and then levels off.

  • Describing Graphs from Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory can help students translate graphical information into words.
  • Introduction to Charts and Graphs (more info) by DISCUSS (Discovering Important Statistical Concepts Using SpreadSheets)is an excellent online tutorial related to MS Excel. Excel templates are also provided for students. Particular focus on the X-Y scatter plots is useful for introductory-level students.
  • Reading Graphs is a beginning Algebra tutorial on graphs.
  • This Leeds College English Language Practice session may be useful to introductory-level students having trouble coming up with their own words to describe the behavior represented by graphs.