Scale activity

This is one type of a misleading graph. The activity begins with a discussion about the graph. Students are then asked to write about the same information when the graph is drawn accurately.

Average house prices


Discussion points

  • What is the headline?
  • Glancing at the graph, by how much do you think house prices have risen?
  • What do you notice about the vertical scale on the graph?
  • Why is the representation misleading?
  • Why do you think a newspaper would produce a graph such as this?


This graph has used the same information but with a correct scale.

Average house prices



Now imagine you are a journalist about to write an article. What would the headline be? 

Write a paragraph for the newspaper using the mathematical information. Include the approximate percentage rise in prices.

Further activity

Collect graphs that appear in your local media. Are any misleading or confusing?