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What is a Line Plot?

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What is a Line Plot?
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.B.4

Basics on the topic What is a Line Plot?

Line Plots – Definition

In mathematics, we have lots of different types of graphs, which represent data in many different ways. You may be familiar with; bar charts, pie charts, scatter graphs and others. When you know more about math, the more graphs you will recognize. In this learning text, we are going to learn about line plots.

A Line plot is a graph that displays data along a number line. It is a simple way to represent data by placing small marks, such as marks above the number line to show the frequency of the data.

Creating and Analyzing Line Plots – Steps

Line plots can be created using just a data set and a number line that represents the items in your data set. In order to use the line plots effectively and then answer some questions about the data set, you need to follow these steps:

  • Create a data set using the given data. Organize your data set and sort the data.
  • Create a number line with the range of numbers in the data set (from lowest to highest). This number line will be the foundation of your line plot.
  • Represent the amount of each item from the range of your data set with one mark on the line plot.
  • Assign a title to your line plot once your data set is completely displayed on the line plot.

The line plot can now be used to interpret the data set and answer questions about the data set.

Creating Line Plots – Example

Let’s look at the example below and then use our knowledge to answer some questions about the data.

From our bunch of data sets (the picture below) we can create a line plot. Let’s look at the steps carefully. Line plots are very helpful as they help visualize our data set in a very organized way.

24794_SEO-01.svg

Our data set is an unsorted amount of honey jars. On top of that, the jars are filled with different amounts of honey. All we have to start with is a recording of all the jars filled with different amounts of honey.

Now we need to organize and categorize this data to be more comprehensible.

Firstly, we must organize the data sets in order, from smaller to larger numbers. We have zero two times, the $\frac{1}{4}$ appears four times, $\frac{1}{2}$ come up five times, $\frac{3}{4}$ turn up four times and finally number one accrue three times.

Data Set
0 0
1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4
1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2
3/4 3/4 3/4 3/4
1 1 1

After we put our data in order, we can draw a number line which will include all the numbers from our data set from least to greatest. Make sure there is an equal distance between the numbers. We must also remember to label our line plot.

Since our number line represents different amounts of honey in a certain number of jars, we call this line plot The level of honey in jars.

24794_SEO-02.svg

The next step is to use our data set and plot the information on the number line.

Firstly, we put two (2) marks above zero (0) on our number line because there were two jars without any honey in them. We must make sure the marks are the same size and equal distance from each other. We’ll do the same with the rest of the data. We plot four marks above one-quarter ($\frac{1}{4}$) , five marks above a half ($\frac{1}{2}$), four marks above three quarters ($\frac{3}{4}$) and three marks above full jars (1).

Have a look at the finished graph below.

24794_SEO-03.svg

The last thing to do now is to find a title for the graph. We’ll call it Sticky Fingers Inventory because Nari’s company is called “Sticky Fingers Honey Company”.

Interpreting Line Plots – Tips and Tricks

We can use line plots in mathematics and statistics for various reasons. For example, to show exact values from the data set, or to show the relationships between items in our data set. We can also use line plots to visualize a data set or to compare and analyze two or more data sets.

Using our example from above, we can now look at our set of data in an organized way on the line plot we created and answer questions about the data set. Answering questions about a data set is a part of analyzing and interpreting data.

Let’s look at some questions about the data we have displayed on the line plot above. The line plot is a simple visual representation of the data. We can use it to analyze, interpret and evaluate the data from our data set by comparing the height of the columns.

Let’s take a look at some questions about our sticky fingers inventory:

Of which quantity is there the most?
Which quantities have the same number of jars to sell?
How many more full jars are there than empty ones?
How many total jars of honey can be sold?

Line Plots – Summary

Let’s summarize what we learned about line plots today.

The purpose of a line plot is to show data in an organized way so we can understand it better and be able to answer questions about the information which the line plot represents. We can plot the data by putting marks on the number line that represent an element from our data set. Remember to label the units of measurement for the line plot as well as giving your line plot a title, making sure the title is related to the information the graph represents.

Take a look at the overview chart below explaining the necessary steps to creating a line plot:

Step # What to do
1 Collect your data or use the given data set.
2 Organize the data sets in order, from smaller items to larger ones.
3 Draw a number line which will include all the numbers from your data set from least to greatest.
4 Plot the data by putting marks or dots above the measurement on the number line.
5 Label the units of measurement for the line plot.
6 Find a fitting title that is related to the information the graph represents.

Now you should be able to collect, analyze and interpret data on the line plot and answer specific questions related to the same data if necessary. If you need more help, you can watch additional videos about line plots for 4th graders. We also offer additional exercise material on the topic of line plots, such as interactive exercises and downloadable worksheets. You can find them next to the video above.

Frequently Asked Questions about Line Plots

What is a line plot?
Are line plots used only for whole numbers?

Transcript What is a Line Plot?

"This sale is going to be amazing! “Hmmm…..what in the world?" “The sale is going to start soon and I don’t know how much honey is in every jar!” Nari needed to get to the bottom of this mystery and decided to record the amounts of honey in each jar. Because Nari’s list of honey amounts is disorganized, it's not a useful way to look at the information. We can help Nari save the honey sale by organizing his data into a line plot. "Line Plots" A line plot is a graph that displays data along a number line in a way that organizes the frequency of the information. We can take Nari's list and create a line plot that will organize the honey inventory he has to sell. First, let’s organize the list of honey jars by grouping the like fraction amounts together. This list represents our DATA SET. What numbers will we include on our number line? We will include all the numbers from our data set in order from least to greatest. Make sure they are spaced an equal distance apart. Now we’ll need to label these units of measurement used for the number line. These fractions represent how much of the jar is filled with honey, so we will label this LEVELS OF HONEY. Where do we get the information for making the plots on our line? We use the data set to tell us how many we have of each kind. The next step is to plot the data points on the line. We will be using x's to stand for the jars of honey. Nari has two jars that are empty, so we will make two x’s above the zero on the number line. In order to stay organized, the x’s need to be the same size and an equal distance apart. How many jars are filled one-fourth the way up? "There are four jars filled to one-fourth, so we can make four x's HERE to represent these jars." How many one-half fractions are on the list? Five (...)so there are five jars that are half full. We’ll add those plots to our number line. Continue on counting the number of three-fourths fractions from our data set and make x’s on the graph. How many jars are three-fourths full? Four.(...) so we have made four x’s above the number line. Finally, count and make the x’s for the full jars. The final step is to title the line plot so everyone knows what information this graph presents. What information do we learn from these line plots? We learn about Nari’s honey jar inventory for his sale, so we will title this STICKY FINGERS INVENTORY. Now that we have organized Nari’s inventory of honey jars, we can easily answer questions about what he has available to sell. Which quantity does Nari have the most of? Nari has the most of the jars that are filled halfway. Which quantities have the same amount of jars to sell? There are four jars of BOTH one-fourth and three-fourths levels. How many more full jars are there than empty ones? One, because there is one more x above the one on the line plot than there is above the zero. Finally(...)How many total jars of honey does Nari have to sell? To solve this problem you add up ALL the x’s above one-fourth,(...) one half, (...) three-fourths, and one whole. Nari has SIXTEEN jars of honey! Four, plus five, plus four, plus three equals sixteen. Why did we not count the x’s above the zero? Nari would not sell EMPTY jars! That would be silly! Remember(...) The purpose of a line plot is to show data in an organized way so we can answer questions about the information. First, we create a number line that includes all the measurement values from our data set. Next, we will plot the data by making x’s above the measurement that match the number of times the data is given. Then, label the units of measurement for the line plot. Finally, title your graph that tells EXACTLY what information the line plot shares. " Hey Nari, (...)Where'd all the DELICIOUS honey go?" "GUS!! (...) WAIT! (...)YOU'RE the one behind all of THIS?!"

3 comments
3 comments
  1. funny lol

    From Samayah, 16 days ago
  2. SO COOL

    From Averie, about 1 year ago
  3. cool

    From Nadiya, over 1 year ago

What is a Line Plot? exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video What is a Line Plot?.
  • Using the number line provided, order all of the measurement values from least to greatest.

    Hints

    What number goes at the beginning of the number line? What number goes at the end?

    Look at the fractions provided. What is the smallest fraction? What is the largest?

    Which fraction should be in the middle of the line plot diagram? Which fraction shows one-half?

    Solution

    The fractions in order from least to greatest is 0, $\frac{1}{6}$, $\frac{2}{6}$, $\frac{1}{2}$, $\frac{4}{6}$, $\frac{5}{6}$, 1.
    Remember, least means smallest and greatest means biggest.

  • Parts of a line plot diagram.

    Hints

    The data represented here are fractions, but what is the proper name for a group of data?

    Graphs and line plot diagrams are a way to organize information, but are they parts of a line plot diagram?

    Solution

    The data set is a list that groups like amounts together. Here, our data set is fractions.
    The number line includes all the numbers from our data set in order from least to greatest.
    The units of measurement label used for the number line names the type of data in the data set.
    The title tells what information we will learn from these line plots. We learn about Nari’s honey jar sale hours, so the title is Sticky Finger's Sale Hours.

  • Which line plot diagram represents the data in the table?

    Hints

    What do the X's on the line graph diagram represent?

    Carefully read the table and count the X's on each line plot diagram.

    Solution

    Each X represents one type of honey jar.
    8 of the jars have zero honey in them.
    4 of the jars are $\frac{1}{4}$ full of honey.
    3 of the jars are $\frac{1}{2}$ full of honey.
    7 of the jars are $\frac{3}{4}$ full of honey.
    2 of the jars are completely full of honey.

  • Interpreting a Line Plot Diagram

    Hints

    Look at line plot diagram, the amount of X's are different for each day of the week. How can you use these X's to help you figure out how much honey was sold each day? Each X represents 1 jar of honey.

    To find the day with the most number of honey sales, find the day with the most X's. To find the day with the least number of honey sales, find the day with the least X's.

    If the question asks you to combine two amounts, what equation will help you solve this?

    Solution

    True: The least amount of honey was sold on Thursday. On Thursday Nari sold 1 jar of honey - this is the smallest amount of honey sold during the week.
    True: Nari sold the same amount of honey on Monday and Friday. Nari sold 5 jars of honey on Monday and 5 jars of honey on Friday.
    True: On Thursday and Friday, Nari sold 6 jars of honey. On Thursday, Nari sold 1 jar of honey. On Friday, Nari sold 5 jars of honey. 1 + 5 = 6.
    True: Twice as many jars of honey were sold on Wednesday than on Tuesday. On Wednesday, 6 jars of honey were sold. On Tuesday, he sold 3. 3 x 2 = 6.
    False: Nari sold the most amount of honey on Tuesday. Nari sold the greatest amount of honey on Wednesday.
    False: Nari sold a total of 19 jars of honey during the week. Count and add the X's from the line plot diagram carefully! 5 + 3 + 6 + 1 + 5 = 20.

  • How many jars of honey does Nari have to sell? Use the line plot provided.

    Hints

    Each X represents 1 jar of honey.

    Should Nari count the empty jars of honey?

    Solution

    To solve this problem, you need add up ALL of the x’s above one-sixth, two-sixth, one half, four-sixth, five-sixth, and one whole.
    Nari has FIFTEEN jars of honey.
    3 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 3 = 15
    Why did we not count the x’s above the zero? Nari would not sell EMPTY jars!

  • Use the line plot diagram to answer the questions.

    Hints

    To find out how many of an amount are filled, count the X's above the fraction. For example, there are 2 jars that are $\frac{5}{6}$ filled.

    To find the quantity with the most number of jars, find the fraction with the most X's. To find the quantity with the least number of jars, find the fraction with the least X's.

    If the question asks how many more or how many fewer, think about what equation will help you solve this.

    If the question asks you to combine two amounts, think about what equation will help you solve this.

    Solution
    1. How many jars are $\frac{1}{2}$ filled? 3. There are 3 X's above the fraction $\frac{1}{2}$ on the number line showing that 3 of the jars are half filled.
    2. Which quantity does Nari have the most of? Nari has 4 jars of honey that are $\frac{4}{6}$ filled. This is the most amount of jars in his inventory.
    3. Which quantity does Nari have the least of? Nari has only 1 jar of honey that is $\frac{2}{6}$ filled. This is the least amount of jars in his inventory.
    4. How many fewer full jars are there than $\frac{4}{6}$ filled jars? 2. There are 4 jars that are $\frac{4}{6}$ filled and 2 jars that are full. 4 - 2 = 2.
    5. How many jars are $\frac{4}{6}$ and $\frac{1}{2}$ filled? 7. There are 4 jars that are $\frac{4}{6}$ filled and 3 jars that are $\frac{1}{2}$ filled. 4 + 3 = 7.