**Once you have your data, you will need to present it to your teacher and science fair judges.** In a science publication, you would choose between a table and a graph, but for the science fair project it is acceptable, and even encouraged, to showcase the data in both forms. If you have to pick (teacher’s rules), then a graph (picture) is better than a table (numbers), EXCEPT that most scientists really, really like numbers – so we are happy to see the table too.

**Type of graphs:** Your first choice is to determine which type of graph would best communicate your findings. Your basic choices are **bar graph, line graph, pie chart, or scatter plot.**

**BAR GRAPH **– This is the most common type for science fair projects. You may select a bar graph when your independent variable is qualitative (categories) or quantitative (numbers). It is generally better to group the data by TREATMENT instead of TRIAL # because it allows a better comparison of variation within the treatment. This might not be intuitive if you collected by trial, but it is the better way to showcase your results.

Look closely and make sure your bar graph has all the highlighted parts:

**LINE GRAPH** – This is the second most common, but frequently used incorrectly, so be careful here. You should only select a line graph if your independent variable is quantitative (numbers) and you hypothesized that the changes in the independent variable would result in changes in the dependent one. For example, line graphs are great for showing changes in the dependent variable over time or distance along a transect.

Again double check the axes:

**PIE CHART** – Pie charts are good for projects that have qualitative independent variables and have generated data that can be expressed as percentages of the total. For example, if your data were counts (i.e. the number of times something happened), then this might be your best choice to compare different treatments.

**SCATTER PLOT** – If the purpose is to see if the variables are related (common in environmental projects), but there was not a clear choice for independent and dependent variables (for example wind speed and water temperature), then a scatter plot would be your best choice. This option typically requires much more data than the others to observe a trend.

Scientists do not label graphs with a title, but if your teacher asks for one — make sure that is there too.

jefferythis is a nice thing you are doing

ShareeExcellent information, great page theme, continue the great work

carolinai really need help on my data

Dr. Maille LyonsWhat do you need, that you didn’t find here?

First, think about which variable did you change? – that will be your INDEPENDENT variable and it will go on the x-axis (horizontal one). Now determine your DEPENDENT variable – it is the thing that you actually measured or counted. These data will go on the y-axis (vertical one).

If your independent variable is quantitative (numbers) then you could do a LINE graph or a BAR graph, but if your independent variable is qualitative (categories like colors, or male vs. female, or high-med-low) then you should be making a bar graph.

Hope that helps, if not – ask a more specific question – what help do you need?

isabellaI am confused. I am in 6th grade and I did my project on my question can I grow stalactites in a manipulated environment. I did two experiments. One in the house with a set temp of 76 degrees, and the other in the garage at random temps. How would I do a graph? They both grew but differently. I am not sure what kind of graph to do, thank you

Dr. Maille LyonsOK – let’s take a look at what you did:

1 experiment with 2 conditions: a. constant temperature condition and b. variable temperature condition

How did you measure growth?

If you only measured growth one time at the end, then you could do a bar graph showing the total growth attained. One bar for each condition – bigger bar wins!

If you measured growth several times over the course of the time you let them grow, then you could do a line graph showing growth (y-axis) over time (x-axis). One line for each condition.

You may want to re-phrase your question: What is the effect of temperature variation on stalactite growth?

Hope that helps!

SydneyI don’t know how to graph my data. I did which product affects the decaying of apple slices the most. I used Epsom salt, salt, and baking soda. The salt slowed down the decaying the most, and the baking soda sped it up the most. How do I put this into a graph????

Dr. Maille LyonsOK – what did you actually measure? In other words, how did you get to the conclusion that the salt slowed down the decaying the most?

Was it time (how long it took each one to decay?)

Was it weight loss? or Percent weight loss?

Was it percent color change?

You will most likely be doing a BAR GRAPH- with each treatment: Epsom salt, salt, and baking soda on the x-axis and whatever you measured on the y-axisIf you did a control (no treatment) – you can calculate the percent change from the control value

Becky McKenzieI did an experiment melting M&M’s, trying to see if certain colors melt faster than others. I am trying to find a graph to show my results. I have not made a graph on the computer before. Please advise me as to website that would be best. Thanks.

Dr. Maille LyonsYou have a qualitative independent variable (i.e. color) and a quantitative dependent variable (time), so your best bet is a bar graph (color on x-axis and time on y-axis)

A really good and free website is:

http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/

(cut and paste it into your browser)

Becky McKenzieThank you so much for your help. You are very thoughtful to help in this way!

MarthaI am doing the experiment how sodas affect tooth decay. Choose 4 sodas placed teeth in each measuring 600ml watching changes to each tooth over a 5 day period to observe which soda caused the quickest decay. How do i place the information on a graph?

Thank you.

Dr. Maille LyonsHow are you measuring “decay” – visually or will you weigh them… or ?

If you have a quantitative dependent (time, weight, size, etc.) then that will go on your y-axis with type of soda on your x-axis.

Sydney JurantyThanks so much!

Christopher GallagherI am doing my science fair project on Wind using a homemade anemometer. I will be testing the wind every morning for 7 days and then compare the wind activity for the same seven days last year. How do set up a graph in excel? I am so confused and dont know how to set the formulas up-please help!

Dr. Maille LyonsFirst, what was your question?

Based on what you have provided, it sounds like you want to compare this year’s 7 days to last year’s 7 days. I would recommend a line graph with day (1-7) on the x-axis and wind speed on the y-axis. Put one set of data (e.g. this year) in one color and the other set (e.g. last year) in another color. You will be able to see which line was “higher” (i.e. more windy) and which line was “more variable” and hopefully that will answer whatever question you selected.

You can use excel to make a graph, but it will be hard for me to explain how if you aren’t familiar with excel. I generally recommend this website:

http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/

(cut and paste into your browser; or Google “Create a Graph”)

sheila scottHello, I am doing my 6th grade Science Fair Project on Whether Pop Cans will sink or float. I used Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Caffeine Free Diet Coke, and Caffeine Free Coke Zero. They all floated except for the Coke. How would I do a Graph or Chart for this.

Thank you for you help

Sheila Scott

Dr. Maille LyonsHow many cans per type of soda did you do? Were the results all the same? You should probably just do a table with Type of Soda across the top and sink and float down the side: then fill it in with yes or no.

KamdenI’m doing this same type of project also. I wanted to note the sugar weight and how that effected floating and sinking of regular sodas versus diet sodas (containing small amounts of aspertame). I also weighed the cans on a gram scale (they were all a little different) Is there any way to make an actual graph to display on my science fair board? Thanks!

Dr. Maille LyonsIf the only thing that you “measured” was yes or no regarding the floating … then no, not really. If you measured the time it took to for the can to sink or float then you could put that on the y-axis (bar graph)

Darlene CouchMy daughter is doing a science fair project on which soda stains teeth the most. She is using visual comparisons. How can she graph and chart this

Dr. Maille LyonsGenerally, you can’t graph qualitative variables like which one stains the most unless you can come up with some sort of a rating scale. For example if she sets up a sequence from “no staining = 0″ to “light staining = 1″ to “moderate staining = 2″ etc. up to heavy staining with whatever number you are on… then she could make a bar graph with soda on the x-axis and staining on the y-axis. You may need to establish the rating scale using something like time (so “light staining = 1″ would be the equivalent to soaking for 1 (hour or day or week depending on the scale you are making)). You might need a rating scale for each soda, for example, you shouldn’t use a staining scale made with a cola to evaluate an orange soda.

Alternatively she might be able to re-phrase the question looking at how long (time is a quantitative variable) does it take to get to a certain level of staining and then compare “time” as a proxy for “stains the most”.

Dr. Maille LyonsShe could also take a lot of photos and qualitatively compare the results.

Luly FundiesPlease help me, i think i should use a bar graph and have different colors for each trial, because i am finding the speed of waves through three trial. (by waves i mean waves from the eleectromagnetic spectrum)

Dr. Maille LyonsI need a bit more information… Sounds like you could use a bar graph for that type of data. You would have speed on the y-axis and what ever was different in each trial on the x-axis

JessieMy daughter is in 3rd grade and has to show a graph or table but I have no idea how to help her with this… Her project was sucking an egg through a bottle and all three times the egg went in… How would you graph it or make a table with that information?????

Dr. Maille LyonsIf she measured the time it took for the egg to go in, she could do a bar graph of treatment (x-axis; i.e. different conditions under which she tested the egg drop) vs. time (y-axis). If she didn’t measure the time but noted which conditions made the egg go in faster, she could make a table and rank them slow, medium, fast.

ErliHello , my daughter is doing a science project : color changing carnation , but we do not know how to make a graph , we use a food coloring in blue , 4 tubes , with 4 carnation , de first tube no colorant so no change , the second tube 10 drops , the third 20 drops and the fourth 39 drops of blue , the flowers in tube 2,3,4 changed blue , the fourth was the darker , how we can do ? Please and thanks so much !!!!! We do not know what to put in x axis and in y axis

Dr. Maille LyonsThe x-axis (horizontal) would be the number of drops, the y-axis would be something you measured. For example the time it took to first see color, or some measure of “how blue” each flower was. If you only have a yes/no as to color, then you can not make a graph. I would suggest making a table and including photographs to show the differences between the color in each flower as a function of how much food coloring was in the tube.

ErliThanks so much !!!!! We measured the time , for example ; we checked every two hours , and we saw changes in color , until 10 hours that was the darkest point . In the x axis can we put tube a ,tube b , tube c and tube d and in parenthesis 0 drops , 10 drops , 20 drops and 30 drops ?. The problem is the y axis , we do not know how to arrange it …. We can use the hours , for example 0,2,4,6,8 and 10 , but what we create the bars ? Thanks !!!!!

Dr. Maille LyonsYou could make a TABLE with each Column being the Tube and each Row being the Time in two hour increments; the boxes would then be filled with words describing the color changes in each tube – so marking when the first signs of color appeared and then which ones got darker and when.

For a BAR GRAPH, you would set up the x-axis as you described above and then use the TIME TO FIRST SIGN OF COLOR CHANGE (should be a single time point) or you could use TIME TO DARKEST COLOR CHANGE (if they didn’t all become the same color by 10 hours)

MargueriteWe need to graph 20 trials in which there was only one response per trial: Yes or No. Can we do a line graph for this and how would it be done?

Thanks!

Marguerite

Dr. Maille LyonsNo – sorry, you can’t do a line graph with that type of data. At best you can do a bar graph to show what % of the 20 trials were yes, but if you don’t have a control group, then you would only have 1 bar. Try a pie chart with the % of yes vs. no

KeryMy daughter did a project on Which Stemmed Flower Lasts The Longest In water after picked. We did a rose, carnation and an amaryllis. We did two experiments, one set of flowers in one cup of water and one set with 1/2 cup of water for two weeks. How would you recommend that we graph this and which graph would be good to use?

Dr. Maille LyonsI will assume you measured “time” for your dependent variable? Then you would make a bar graph with flower type on the x-axis and time on the y-axis. I am not clear why you did one cup of water vs. 1/2 cup of water. Were there differences? If yes, make two graphs (one for each) but if not, average the results (or present two bars per flower type) on the bar graph.

JamesHello, my name is James and I am in 3rd grade. I am doing which method makes most tender beef. I used soy sauce, baking soda, meat tenderizer hammer and a control that did not have anything done to it. My dad cooked the meat. We gave a piece of each one to 5 of his friends. They decided which one was most tender down to the least tender. The baking soda was most tender. The control was least tender. They had different ranks for least to most tender. What is the best graph to use for this data? Thank you.

James

3rd grade

Dr. Maille LyonsGreat project! You could do a bar graph with “treatment” on the x-axis (control, soy sauce, meat tend., and hammer) and then the “average” rank on the y-axis. You would need to convert the “ranks” into numbers, just set a scale from least (1) to most (5?) and then average the numbers. I would also include a data table showing the each of the 5 friends ranks for each of the 5 treatments (set up a 5 by 5 table).

JamesThank you very much I will do these.

James

EchoI am doing a science fair project to see if lemons or potatoes will keep a lightbulb lit the longest. I put ‘Time the lightbulb stayed lit(min)’ as my dependent variable and lemons and potatoes as my independent variables. (I.e. in the bar graph you made, coffee and water would be substituted for lemons and potatoes.) Is this correct? The main problem I’m having with this is that I’m not sure what I should put as their title, for example, where you put treatment. Can you please help me? Thanks!

Dr. Maille Lyons“Treatment” still works for you, it is just a generic term for “things that varied in my experiment”; Alternatively you could use “Battery” or “Organic Battery”. Make sure the “Batteries” are on the x-axis and time (min) is on the y-axis.

KZI am doing a science fair project on how to make a potato powered light bulb. I’m lost on trying to make a graph/table. Can you help me please

Dr. Maille LyonsTo make a graph, you need to collect data… so are you testing different types of potatoes? or brightness of light? or length of time light works? If the question is just “can I make this work” and the answer is “yes or no” then there is no graph to be made. You can try making the potato powered light bulb and then changing one aspect of it and seeing if you can make it “better” – then at least you could make a bar graph with the thing you changed (=independent variable) and the measure difference (=dependent variable).

KZHow about if I used a russet potato and a sweet potato? What can I measure between the two?

Dr. Maille LyonsThat is the key … what will you measure? You can try measuring brightness (you would need a light meter) or time (see if one lasts longer than the other – but that could be a long time to wait; and they would need to be the same size) or something else. You want more than a yes/no answer of did it work or not otherwise it is still just a demonstration and not an experiment.

AlexisIf I have 10 trials, and in each trial I mark yes or no that my bug tried to climb the wall of the maze, and I want to show change over time, how could I show that on a line graph?

More info on my assignment:

First three trials were baseline.

The next eight tracked whether or not wall climbing happened while my intervention was in placed.

So, I need to show the Yeses go down over the course of ten trials and the No’s go up over the course of the same ten trials. I want to show it on the same line graph for comparison, but I can’t figure out how to show it .

Dr. Maille LyonsOK – so there is no line graph in your future… sorry, you don’t have the correct type of data.

And I can’t see 10 trials based on the info you have provided. You have 3 trials for a control and 8 trials for an experiment (I am assuming your “intervention” was the same for each of the 8 trials).

You can do a bar graph showing what percentage of times “wall climbing” occurred by calculating the number of “yes” for the control (0 out of 3; or 3 out of 3; or # out of 3) and compare that to the percentage of times for the intervention (# out of 8).

If you are trying to show “learning” – that perhaps the bug learned to climb (or not climb) the wall, then make a table of the 8 trials in the order that they were done, perhaps it would show a pattern if, for example you had data like: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no, no, no – would suggest the bug “learned” not to climb as compared to if your data looks like: yes, yes, yes, no, yes, no, no, yes – Do you see the difference?

Did you always you the same bug?

cathyI am creating egg geodes for my science project. I have several solids such as alum, sea salt, Epson salt, and sugar. I’m not sure about my question or my graph. Please help

Dr. Maille LyonsThat’s a great idea – but it is not an experiment. You need to vary something and measure a difference in the outcome of something. So you could ask: Which solid creates the biggest geode? (Then vary the solids and measure the size of the crystals in the geode). Or you could ask Which solid creates an egg geode the fastest? (Then vary the solids and measure the time to complete formation).

kaila davisHello, for my sience fair project I am doing witch beverage stains your teeth the most. To test that am going to use eggs, i am going to put the egg in one type on drink, then I am going to let it sit for one day, the I am going to place a whitening strip on the egg for one day then I am going to compair the results. I repeating this procedure with different types of drinks. I need help with graphing, could you help me as soon as possible!?!

Dr. Maille LyonsUnfortunately, you will not be able to graph anything because you are not actually measuring a number and graphs require numbers – i.e. your dependent variable is qualitative (“darkest color”) not quantitative (has to have a number associated with the measurement).

You will be able to rank them: first, second, third, etc. according to their ability to stain the “teeth” (i.e. eggs).

Take lots of photos and use the photos to show your results and the rankings. Also – you should soak THREE eggs for each type of drink you test for proper repliction.

Cheers

kaila davisThank you, that was so helpful, but can you give me more details? I need to get a better understanding.

Dr. Maille LyonsWhat specifically?

kaila davisLike what graph should I do and what should be in my graph.

Dr. Maille LyonsSorry – You can NOT make a graph because you do NOT have any numbers to put on the y-axis. Even though the x-axis can have numbers or categories (i.e. soda types) the y-axis needs a real number.

kaila davisCould i do a table, if I can what should I put in it?

Dr. Maille LyonsIf you recorded observations for each time then you could do a table with the type of soda for each row, and the day for each column and whatever observations you made in the box.

Jordan SmithI have a quick question as to how I should graph my data. My science fair project is to examine how 3 different type of gymshoes effects how one completes a crossingover using a basketball. So, basically I want to ind out will each different shoe yield different results of a crossover(skill in basketball)

Thank you

Dr. Maille LyonsWhat are you actually measuring?

If it’s “time” then make a bar graph with the type of shoe on the x-axis and time on the y-axis.

If it’s “success” – i.e. yes/no was the skill completed correctly then the y-axis will be the percentage completed (# of successes divided by total number of attempts).

Regardless: You should do at least 10 trials (ideally 10 different people completing the skill one time, each wearing the shoe being tested, etc.). The problem with using the same person 10 times is that – in theory – they should get better with practice so the number of successes will be potentially related to practice (not the shoe). So if you are testing at least three types of shoes then you will need about 30 people randomly distributed into three groups (i.e. don’t put all the basketball players in one group). If you can only find 10 people and you want them to each try the skill in each type of shoe… then randomize the order in which they test the shoes (i.e. do not always test running shoe first, then court shoe second, then high-top third- because you will run into the “practice” problem again).

Hope that helps!

Jordan SmithThank so you so very for responding and yes that helped. I will be measuring success so I will use the bar graph but can you give me a example of what should be represented in my bar graph? Should I list every shoe at the x-axis (bottom) – as you suggested that the # of success divided by the total attempts should go list on the y-axis(along the side) but what does it look like in numbers? By the way I am a 8th grader

Thanks again!!!

JenniferHello, I’m doing a science project on How do different sodas effect the meats we eat. And I’m not sure how to do a graph or data chart?

Dr. Maille LyonsWhat did you measure? How did you evaluate “the effect of soda” on the meat?

NataHi I’m helping 4th grader record data. For chicken breast and sprite coke water project

Really need some assistance on how to graph??

Dr. Maille LyonsWhat did the student measure? I need more details…

NataMeasure chicken breast with coke , sprite and water.

Effects of brand of soda on raw meat

Will not soak up

Dr. Maille LyonsMake a bar graph with “Treatment” on the x-axis: water (control); sprite; coke AND amount of liquid soaked up (or not) on the y-axis

NataThanks for your help!

LynnThis website is wonderful! Thanks so much for helping the parents and kids with our science expo projects. My daughter is doing an experiment on: Do bananas ripen faster in the light or dark? She did three experiments and took pictures at the beginning of the experiment and then pictures at the end (day seven). Is there a way she can use a graph to display her findings, or is it ok to just use pictures?

Dr. Maille LyonsIn order to make a graph, you need numbers.

If you can estimate % browning from the photos you could use that for a graph. One way to do this is to make a grid using a transparency. Place the grid (smallest squares that are practical) over the photo. Count the total number of squares each banana fills (let’s say you get lucky and it’s exactly 100). Count the total number of squares that have some brown (let’s say 50 of the 100 are at least partially brown). Then for that treatment (light or dark) you would have an estimate of the % browning (or % yellow if that was the observation for “ripening” – whatever she was monitoring) for each treatment; in this case you might conclude bananas in the dark ripened 50% more than bananas in the light (assuming when you do same thing for other bananas you get no browning; etc.).

You could then make a bar graph with treatment on x-axis and status (i.e. % ripe or % brown etc.) on y-axis

LynnThanks!

Reece MeyerI am doing the science fair for school and for my project I need to make a table for collecting data, NOT A GRAPH. Can you help me make one or find a helpful website so I can make one online and print one off? THanks!!

Dr. Maille LyonsData tables can be made in any spread sheet program (e.g. Excel). A table is just a set of columns and rows that you can organize your data in. You could even make a table with a rule and pencil.

Randy ChongMy kids are long past the science fair age, but I can well remember how frustrated they were trying to figure out how to convert their data to meaningful graphs, charts and tables. (And we all learned how to use Excel to make them!) You are providing a wonderful service with your site, but especially your commitment to having a dialogue with your young readers. All of your answers were very timely and contained so much useful information, without being condescending in any way. Way to go!!

SummerHi, I have a question about how to graph my experiment involving my 3 dogs during 5 days. I wanted to know if they found more expensive dog treats better tasting or do they prefer cheaper treats. All store bought. My dogs were tested individually. Thank you.

Dr. Maille LyonsHow did you measure “better tasting” with the dogs? This your dependent variable and would go on the y-axis of a bar graph with the different brands of dog treats (ranked by price) on the x-axis.

You could make one bar graph for each dog (three graphs), OR

you could put three bars, each representing one dog on one graph, OR

you could average the results for the three dogs and put the average on one bar graph

If what you measured was not quantitative (i.e. a number), but rather qualitative (i.e. an adjective), the best you can do is a table with yes/no or more/less in each box (put brand of treat, ranked by price as the columns and each dog as a row).

TammyHi my son has to do a graph or chart on his science project on what effect does salt have on an egg when placed in water. Could you help with what type he should use graph or chart?

Thanks so much!!

Dr. Maille LyonsWhat did he measure?

Most likely you will have a bar graph with two bars on the x-axis: one for salt and one for no salt (or if there were different concentrations of salt, then one for each amount).

Whatever was measured goes on the y-axis

Elysa HozeyMy science fair project was to see which dessert melted faster, frozen yogurt, sorbet, or ice cream. We did 3 trials at 3 different temperatures (72, 72 and 74F). Measured out 1 tablespoon of each dessert. Rechecked at 30 minutes and each time the ice cream had melted faster. My mom and I can’t figure out how to graph it or which graph would be the right one. Please help.

Dr. Maille LyonsBar graph: put type of dessert on x-axis and time to melting on y-axis; make one for each temperature showing either (1) the average time to melting OR (2) put all three bars (1 for each trial) grouped according to dessert type (will have 3 sets of 3).

If you choose to present the average, I recommend including a table showing you did do 3 trials per dessert, per temperature.

Patti UllerichMy son is doing a science fair project on dyslexia. He was testing how long it would take an adult non-dyslexic fluent reader to read a sentence written as a dyslexic would see it versus the sentence written normally. (Some letters were exchanged for other letters.) He tested 10 subjects. The subjects were to try to read the sentences on their own as best they could. If they could not read them, they were given a key to help them complete the test. The key told them which letters were changed to other letters, such as a=o or t=l. All 10 subjects needed to use the key, but some needed it sooner than others. He didn’t take into account that he would be graphing the data, so we are having a hard time with it. We were thinking a bar graph with the dyslexic vs. non-dyslexic sentences as the independent variable and the time it took each subject to complete the sentences as the dependent variable.

Dr. Maille LyonsYes a bar graph is your best choice because you have a quantitative dependent variable and qualitative independent variables.

Your dependent variable is quantitative (time) so that will go on the y-axis (vertical one) in all cases.

You could:

1. graph the average time for reading the normal sentence (one bar, average of 10 subjects) vs. the average time for reading the modified sentence (second bar); Ultimately this is the data that answers your question.

2. graph the variation in reading the normal sentence (10 bars, one for each person) and present it next a graph (so 2 graphs labeled A and B) to the variation in reading the modified sentence (10 bars, one for each person) – this will allow you to evaluate if the modified sentence causes more trouble for some individuals, but maybe not all.

3. graph the average time to someone asking for the key.

4. make a bar graph for the DIFFERENCE between (e.g. the time for the normal sentence minus the time for the modified sentence) to find the average difference in times and then present that on the Y-axis with the groupings on the x-axis; group data by other means: men vs. women; age of reader; highest degree held; etc. To see if there are other trends in your data.

Great project idea!

Sallythat was helpful