What Pie?
(What Would You Use: Part 3)

By: Brink Harrison

Time: One class period
Preparation Time: 5-10 min copying overheads

Pie Chart Overheads
Teacher Background

By constructing and interpreting pie charts, students better understand the type of data that is best represented by this form of graph. Students practice making and interpreting pie graphs so they will be able to decide if a pie chart is the appropriate form of display when they create the graphs for their final project on arsenic in their given community.


Students will be able to:

i. Construct a pie chart given a set of data
ii. Interpret the data represented on a pie chart
iii. Determine whether a pie chart is the appropriate form of display for a given set of data

National Science Education Standards
Data Analysis and Probability
Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them

Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements

Teacher Background
See attached sheet

Related and Resource Websites

Graphic courtecy of http://www.mathleague.com/



1. At the beginning of class review yesterday’s lesson and the homework from the lesson on scatter plots and line graphs. Allow the students time to discuss the differences they find in their work. Tell them, “We will come back to all the types of graphs we have covered, but today we are going to look at one more type of graph, the pie graph.”

2. Ask the students, “What do we use pie graphs for? How are they different from the other graphs?”

3. Put up the first page of Pie Chart overhead (Race/Ethnicity % of US Public Schools from
http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/graphing/ ) Using this pie graph ask students what are the advantages and disadvantages of using a pie chart over other types of graphs. (see teacher background). As student respond write the advantages and disadvantages on the board.

4. Go over the questions, but realize that it is not possible to answer the last one because without knowing the total number of students we cannot figure out how many students are in that sector of the pie.

5. Put up the Making a Pie Chart overhead (from the following website
http://bdaugherty.tripod.com/KeySkills/pieCharts.html ) and go through the calculations with the students. They will need help calculating the size of the angle. (This is a good time to review setting up and solving proportions). However, have the students make their own pie chart as they will probably need practice measuring angles with a protractor.

6. Put up the Sausage-Mushroom Pizza overhead (from the website http://www.mathleague.com/help/data/data.htm ) and help the students calculate the weight of each of the individual components of the pizza.


Students should do the problems on the attached Homework sheet.

Embedded Assessment

Informal discussions and observations as the students go through the questions on the overheads and construct the pie chart will allow you to assess their understanding of pie charts.



PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

1996-2007, The University of Arizona
Last update: March 7, 2007
  Page Content: Rachel Hughes
Web Master: Travis Biazo