Infographics are trendy, and they’re also an efficient and appealing way of sharing information. Next time you study graphs and charts, include infographics as well.
Begin with my collection of animal infographics at Pinterest, or your own classroom collection. Go through them and discuss what information each one offers. Ask students what makes these pictures infographics rather than just charts or illustrations.
Once all students understand the idea of infographics, ask them to create their own collection. Remind students that infographics are protected under copyright law, just like photos and illustrations. Older students can get some practice with citing sources by providing references for their collections.
Have students work in pairs to identify the characteristics of infographics that make them different from ordinary graphs. Regroup and share the answers. Some of the things students might notice:
- Infographics use visual elements to make an idea clear.
- Infographics may combine different types of graphs and charts into a single image.
- Infographics use more words than a typical chart or graph would.
Have students choose an infographic and write a sentence or a paragraph that clearly states its main point or points.
Some infographics are just graphs with visual elements to make their point clearer, so why not start with a bar graph that uses visual elements to make its point?
Bar graphs are best for data that you can count and compare, so start with data you’ve been studying. Prepare a regular bar graph. Replace the ordinary bars with pictures related to your topic.
Our example was made very simply. First we made a chart at Create a Graph as a starting point. We asked the class which area of the Ancient World they liked best and put the data into the Create a Graph form, and the tool created a bar graph for us.
We captured it as a picture and loaded it into Adobe Photoshop. We replaced the bars with photos of things that made us think of the different areas of the ancient world. We had taken most of the photos ourselves at museums, but we did use a copyright-free image from Dover for one of our pictures. Using a graphic program for this project gives good practice with the computer, but using scissors and glue works just as well.
Once students have made their bar graph, have them try to make a Venn diagram or pie chart with images relevant to their data. Here’s a Venn diagram comparing two Cinderella-inspired picture books:
Have older students take their data another step away from an ordinary graph:
We played around with more of the tools from Adobe Photoshop to make our graph into an infographic.
More things to do with data for an infographic project:
- Include more than one type of graph.
- Use a graphic shape to hold the information.
- Change the shape or direction of the graph.
We’d love to see what your class comes up with!