1. How to make a histogram to visualize data and solve problems
How to make a histogram to visualize data and solve problems

Create a histogram with your students

What is a histogram? It’s a graphical display of data using bars of different heights — a really great tool for visualizing lots of information at a glance. Using Post-it® Products, you can work with your students to create a fun histogram that will help them understand how continuous data can be collected, arranged, and displayed.


  • Getting hands-on is a surefire way to help your students absorb concepts, solve problems, and learn efficiently — in fact, it’s been proven that we’re 42% more likely to retain a concept when we write it down.* Writing has the power to help educate and to make the process more fun. Making a histogram that displays your students’ heights will help your kids tap into their own smarts, and get them energized and excited about discovering answers within data.

  • How to make a histogram to visualize data and solve problems

    1. Collect the data!

    Divvy up your class into a few teams, and encourage them to measure each other’s heights. Have each student record their name and their height, in inches, on a Post-it® Super Sticky Notes 3 in. x 3 in. With a ton of different colors available, your kids will have the opportunity to choose their favorites, which will help keep them motivated.

  • How to make a histogram to visualize data and solve problems - Draw your axes

    2. Draw your axes!

    Create a histogram by drawing an X- and Y-axis on a Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface. It can be installed on almost any wall or table in the classroom, and instantly creates a collaborative whiteboard space that can be used to solve problems and visualize thinking. Label each axis with categories of classification that are 3 inches wide, to match the width of the Post-it® Super Sticky Notes 3 in. x 3 in. Then, have your kids stick their height notes in the proper category, stacking them up as they go. Because the notes are super sticky, they’ll stay put — and they’ll keep sticking if they need to be removed and re-stuck elsewhere. Right away, everyone will start to see the shape of the histogram — it’s exciting!

  • How to make a histogram to visualize data and solve problems - Change it up

    3. Change it up!

    To discuss the effects of class widths (those are the range of heights, like 40 in.–45 in.), you can recreate the histogram with smaller and larger class widths. It’s easy to do on the Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface, and your kids will quickly see how the shape of the graph changes depending on how the classification widths are redefined. Each time you re-draw the graph, encourage your kids to remove the notes, and then re-stick them in the proper place with each new iteration. They’ll have fun learning how the same data can look different depending on how it’s measured!

  • How to make a histogram to visualize data and solve problems - Sketch and chat

    4. Sketch and chat

    As each histogram is finished, have your students sketch it on a Post-it® Tabletop Easel Pad, which provides a really handy, large canvas for getting thoughts visualized. Stick each sketch up on the wall so that they’re all visible — each easel pad note will stay stuck, and your students can evaluate which class widths are best and why. This can be done in a structured group discussion and/or writing. They can also discuss the shape of the graph.

    Working with data and numbers doesn’t have to be boring. Create a histogram with your kids and watch them get excited about the endlessly variable world of data visualization. The simple acts of writing and sketching really does lead to more efficient learning and problem solving — and your kids will feel empowered and energized to take their newfound love of numbers and apply it elsewhere in the studies, too. Just remember:

    1. Collect the data
    2. Draw your axes
    3. Change it up
    4. Sketch and chat

    *Matthews, G. (2007). The impact of commitment, accountability, and written goals on goal achievement. Paper presented at the 87th Convention of the Western Psychological Association, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

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