Graph investigator

The digital object L5903 Graph investigator explores different types of graphs. Students choose a question to investigate through data (e.g. Do left-handed people have a better reaction time?).


Select data from these choices: gender, home internet, right- or left-handed, year level, reaction time, concentration score, homework hours and travel time.

Screen grab from L5903 Graph investigator: hand preference.
Source: © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2011


Students select an appropriate data set and choose a useful graph type for the context. They examine the data and draw a conclusion about the question being investigated, receiving immediate feedback on their choices.


Data table with yes or no answers recorded. Pie graph showing 82% answered "yes" and 18% answered "no".

Screen grab from L5903 Graph investigator: home internet access.
Source: © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2011


The activity highlights the features of different graphical representations:

  • scatter plots
  • line, pie and column graphs
  • histograms
  • box-and-whisker plots
  • single or back-to-back stem-and-leaf plots.

As students practise appropriate selection in the context of an investigation, the uses and advantages of various graph types are clearly explained in the text. The resource is suitable at year 10 to revise graph type features and fit-for-purpose selection. Individual learning objects (found in Related Items) can be used with years 6–9 as more graph types are encountered.

Students may refer back to this resource when choosing graph types for their own investigations.

Curriculum links

Year 10: Construct and interpret box plots and use them to compare data sets

Year 10: Use scatter plots to investigate and comment on relationships between two numerical variables