Choropleth map visualizing the United States by distance to the nearest McDonald's

Editors’ Choice: Teaching Data Visualization to Kids

Think of all the things you learned in elementary school: How to read. How to write. How to count. How to do add, subtract, multiply, and divide. These are all learned skills, things that we are not innately born knowing how to do.

Just like these, reading graphs is a skill. We might be taught how to read line, bar, and pie charts in elementary school because they have been around longer than others and are used the most. But there is a wide array of graph types outside of these standard types that we can use to visualize data. In the right context—with the right content—some of these graphs are inherently better than standard graphs while other times they enable us see patterns and relationships that might not be as apparent in standard forms. I’m a big believer in helping people better understand how to read all kinds of graphs—the concept of a ‘graphic literacy’ that is a learned skill like any other…

Last week, I was offered the opportunity to work with my youngest workshop attendees when I visited my son’s 4th-grade classroom… This year, I focused on data visualization and tried to educate and entertain them at the same time.

I approached the class with three goals in mind: First, I wanted to show them different graphs. Second, I wanted them to do something. And third, I wanted them to have fun. Here’s how I approached the day, followed by some reflections.

Read the full post here.