Information Is Beautiful infographics project
I’d like to tell you a bit about a new project that I’m running with a top set year 7 class at the moment. The project is called Information Is Beautiful and is based around techniques for data representation and visualisation. We have done a few lessons on the basics such as how to draw comparative or multiple bar charts, frequency diagrams, pie charts etc and now the pupils are using these skills in the context of infographics.
If you don’t know what and infographic is, it is a poster that uses different graphs and charts to communicate a message, but in a visually attractive, beautiful way. Quite often traditional graphs or charts are adapted to make them more visually appealing and relevant for the topic. Good websites to find infographics are InformationIsBeautiful.net and Good.Is.
Pupils started off by looking at this fantastic infographic about who is likely to buy the iPad 3:
Pupils looked at how traditional graphs and charts had been changed. For example, notice how the pie chart that shows the proportion of different sizes of memory in iPads in circulation is also divided into 3G vs Wifi connectivity too. The authors are showing two types of data on one pie chart!
Next, pupils watched this excellent TED talk by David McCandless that shows many examples of how he makes information beautiful.
Pupils are researching infographics for homework this week with a focus on answering the question ‘how have they changed traditional maths graphs and charts to make them more relevant to the topic and gorgeous to look at?’ In future weeks pupils are going to start researching their own chosen topic and getting their own primary or secondary data for it. An excellent source of free public data is the Google Public Data Explorer website that features wonderful interactive charts for real world data from greenhouse gas emissions to the proportion of seats held by women in parliaments. Here is an example of one of the interactive charts:
The pupils seem to be very engaged in the project so far. I’ll make sure to update this post with their own infographic productions once they complete them!