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Here is a math tip for you. When you are confronted with a graph and a question that asks about what will happen to the graph over time, make sure to Extend the Graph! Graphing is a topic that follows students throughout the grades. Regardless of the skill level of the graph and graphing question, it is critical that the student takes a few extra moments to label and extend the graph.

Many students rush through graphing questions. Taking an extra few moments to stop and think about what the graph is all about can be the difference between answering a question correctly or incorrectly. Here is something you may not know, many graphing questions are as much about reading as they are about math. Many of the students I have worked with look at the graph and assume that the question is asking one thing, but skip over the reading.

How to Attack a Graph:

Here is how to attack a graph and graphing question:

  1. Check out the graph. Read the title and the axes carefully and ask yourself, “What data is this graph representing?”
  2. Find a way to write the numbers in the graph (See sample below)
  3. Read the question. Graphing questions often have a section above and below the actual graph. Underline the sentence that has the question mark in it and circle any numbers in the sentence.
  4. If the question asks you to think about what will happen to the graph in the future, take a moment to draw an extension onto the graph.

What Does it Look Like?

Notice how the question asks the student to predict how many cows will be on the farm in 2010. Here is the common mistake…it didn’t ask for 2009!

Taken from 2010 Grade 4 NYS Math Test (Book 1)

Here is how the strategy can help you get it right!

Taken from 2010 Grade 4 NYS Math Test (Book 1)

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Comments to "Math Tips for Graphing Questions"

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