Introduction to Infographics/Data Visualization

March 2 was Dr. Seuss’ birthday. It was celebrated around the world with many people reading and rereading his wonderful books. There are many great websites about Dr. Seuss. We read some of his books in our class last week and will be reading some more this week. The first grade class across the hall has each child read and share with the class one of Dr. Seuss’ books. When I saw this infographic I thought what a great way to challenge my students as they read to find a favorite quote.

We would first spend time reading the quotes on the graphic and discuss why someone might collect quotes. What do the quotes mean? Have they every heard someone share a favorite quote? Why do we remember and use quotes?

Since we have been memorizing bible verses from the beginning of the year I would start with each student choosing a favorite verse. Then see if we could group them by themes or books of the Bible. At this point I would have the students work in small groups to take a photo or create a picture that would add to their group of verses. Then create a poster that would be our infographic.

The next challenge would be to find a quote they would like to remember.  Each student will be given several sticky notes in their book box. When they find a quote, they can copy it to a sticky note along with the title of the book and their name. We will collect the sticky notes on a small whiteboard on the easel. At the end of a week or two we can create our own infographic of favorite quotes from favorite books. This might be an ongoing project that students can work on in small groups as they find quotes they like and share a theme with others or are by the same author.

What is an infographic or data visualization? From the website

  • visualizations that present complex information quickly and clearly
  • visualizations that integrate words and graphics to reveal information, patterns or trends
  • visualizations that are easier to understand than words alone
  • visualizations that are beautiful and engaging

The infographics I want to create with my students would not involve data, or patterns or trends but would be an introduction to what can be created. I have been fascinated by the free technology that is available to help create data visualizations. Gap minder is particularly fascinating. I would love to hear if anyone has ideas for its use with elementary students. It seems more geared for secondary or at least upper elementary students.

At this point in time, helping students to see that we can present data and information in a variety of ways is the first step. Then helping the students to learn to read and interpret the data and information seems the next step. Learning to collect data and create an infographic would be the final step. I’m not sure at this time if that is a step that my elementary students are ready for. We have done some basic graphing and maybe it is something to consider in our graphing unit next year. Has anyone tried data visualization with lower elementary students?

I did find it fun to create an infographic of myself twitterized. Since I am still a newbie with twitter it was pretty much accurate.

9 thoughts on “Introduction to Infographics/Data Visualization

  1. Dr. Seuss is one of my favourite authors and I love reading his books. I really enjoyed reading the 30 quotes to live by link. One of my favourite quotes is “A person’s a person no matter how small”.

    • Alison,
      Dr. Seuss was truly and amazing author with many wonderful quotable quotes. I know kids love his books for the rhyme and creative beings but there are such profound messages for adults too. I tried several times to embed the quotes but had difficulty, I’m glad you followed the link.

  2. Jean your post is a reminder that infographics do not just need to be interesting representations of statistics. Usually when I think of infographics, I immediately think of interesting ways to stats. Thanks to your post I have started to think of different ways that I could visualize information in unique way.
    For example, I think it would be neat to have students create a road map style infographic for a story that the students are reading.

    • Brendan,
      Thank you, there are a lot of different uses for infographics. I would like to see your road maps when your students create them.

  3. I must admit, when I embark on infographics my initial response is data. As Brendan said, your post reminds me that it can be more. However, I do think we would need to keep in mind the difference between a “poster” and an infographic. Or is there a difference?

  4. Frank,
    I have also wondered what the difference between a “poster” and infographic is. I understand the difference with interactive data, but when you look at some of the samples at some of the sites, they look like really neat “posters.” I would like to find some simple infographics using data to share with younger students. Our business manager comes and does a lesson on graphs with the students and always has unique ideas, maybe I should work with him on it sometime.

  5. Jean and Frank,
    I was wondering about the same thing between infographic and a “poster”. Like Jean I did come across many examples that really looked like posters.
    So, I googled, and here is what I found.
    According to this article, the author uses the term
    “infoposter”(not yet defined in Wikipedia), and it is different from “infographic” When you see the examples of the two in this blog, you will see the difference.

    • Naho,

      Thank you for the link, it seems clearer from that post the difference between an infoposter and infographic. Since these are both relatively new concepts I’m sure there will be much more discussion and ultimately a clearer definition of both. I guess it is easier for me to think in infoposters and now I need to challenge myself to find a way to introduce infographics.

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