Interpreting Pie Charts
Students analyze information on a pie chart to answer questions about gas prices. They also form constructed responses related to this topic.
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
This lesson covers a discussion on rising gas prices, including the cause and effect gas prices may have on budgeting for a vacation. Students will use the presented information to respond to a constructed response question.
- Explore cause and effect, and supply and demand in relation to gas prices.
- Analyze information on a pie chart.
- Create an appropriate constructed response.
- Articles, news videos, or any pertinent information regarding current gas prices
- Copies of the Scholastic News: Read a Pie Chart (PDF), one per student
Step 1: Introduce the unit by telling students that they will be responsible for planning a vacation. Before they begin budgeting, they will need to consider where money will be spent. Ask for volunteers to offer ideas of what items might be the most costly. If gas isn’t suggested, mention that this vacation will require a car trip. Discuss what the class already knows about rising gas prices.
Step 2: Share the articles, news videos, and other gathered information on current gas prices.
Step 3: Distribute the Scholastic News: Read A Pie Chart (PDF). Discuss that the chart represents a whole — in this case, the world’s oil supplies. Encourage students to talk about which countries have the largest slice of the pie. Discuss why the Middle East oil supplies are a concern to some people.
Step 4: Ask students to answer the questions listed below chart, then review them, checking for understanding. (See answers below.)
Step 5: Open up a discussion on how gas prices can affect the travel industry, and how travelers could conserve energy.
Step 6: Introduce the term "constructed response" and explain that it is an answer that students "construct" using their understanding of the question along with prior knowledge.
Step 7: Review the Constructed Response Scoring Guide, discussing the elements that a top quality answer requires.
Step 8: Now, pair up students to work on a constructed response question such as the following:
Think of your typical daily activities. If gasoline was no longer available, list at least five ways that would change your lifestyle. What could you personally do to conserve energy? Give examples.
Step 9: Model a top quality answer and evaluate according to the Constructed Response Scoring Guide.
Step 10: Allow partners to create one response to the question. Encourage volunteers to share these in class. Ask students to critique class answers by using the scoring guide.
Supporting All Learners
Students will answer the questions at their own ability. Working with a partner will assist struggling learners. ESL students may be allowed to answer the questions in their first language.
Scholastic News' You’re the President game allows students to create a balanced budget using percentages and pie charts. This is an excellent follow-up to this lesson.
Suggest that students ask parents and/or grandparents if they can recall a previous time in their lives when gas prices were in the news.
- Provide answers to the questions on the Scholastic News: Read A Pie Chart (PDF) handout
- Create a response to the constructed response question with a partner.
- Do you think any part of this lesson was unclear?
- What can you provide to make the lesson more meaningful and personal to the student?
- How would you evaluate student’s understanding of constructed response answers?
Collect the pie chart handouts to check for understanding.
Answers to the PDF: 1) C; 2) B; 3) C; 4) A; 5) B; 6) B; 7) C
Bonus: Saudi Arabia has about 250,000,000,000 barrels; Iraq has about 100,000,000,000 barrels; The U.S. and Canada together have about 30,000,000,000 barrels.
Sample Rubric for Scoring a Constructed Response
Assess the constructed response questions by checking for complete answers that contain information covered during discussion.
3 — Response is successful in the following ways:
- It demonstrates an ability to analyze the stimulus material thoughtfully and in depth.
- It responds appropriately to all parts of the question
- It demonstrates proficiency with conventions of standard written English
2 — Response demonstrates understanding of the topic, but is limited in one or more of the following ways:
- It may indicate a misreading of the stimulus material or provide superficial analysis
- It may respond to one or more parts of the question inadequately or not at all
- It may contain significant writing errors
1 — Response is inadequate in one or more of the following ways:
- It may demonstrate weak understanding of the subject matter or of the writing task
- It may fail to respond adequately to most part of the question
- It may be incoherent or severely underdeveloped
- It may contain significant and persistent writing errors
0 — Response is blank, off-topic, totally incorrect, or merely rephrases the question.