- This pictogram shows the number of cars parked in a car park on each day.
- Every car drawn represents 10 cars parked in the car park.
- To work out the number of cars parked each day we count up in tens for each car drawn.
- On Monday there is one car drawn, which is worth 10 cars parked in the car park.
- On Tuesday there are two cars drawn, which is worth 20.
- On Wednesday there is one car drawn, worth 10.
- On Thursday there are four cars drawn, worth 40.
- On Friday there are three cars drawn, worth 30.
- Each whole car drawn is worth 10 cars.
- Each half car drawn is worth 5 because 5 is half of ten.
- On Monday we have 20 cars. 20 is worth two tens and so we draw 2 cars.
- On Tuesday there are 10 cars, which is one car drawn on the pictogram.
- On Wednesday there are 5 cars, which is shown with half a car on the pictogram.
- On Thursday there are 15 cars, which is 10 + 5. We draw this with a full car worth 10, plus half a car worth 5.
- On Friday there are 25 cars, which is two tens and a five. We draw this with two full cars, worth 10 plus half a car, worth 5.
Pictograms Lesson Accompanying Activity Sheet
How do we Read, Draw and Interpret Pictograms?
In the example below, each book drawn means that a person has read 1 book.
The pictogram example below shows the number of books read by each person.
We can count the number of books drawn next to each person’s name to find out how many each person read.
James read 3 books.
Sarah read 2 books.
Alex read 1 book.
Amy read 5 books.
Terry read 2 books.
This pictogram is useful because it is visual display of how many books each person read. It can be easier to quickly read and compare the information shown when compared to a list of numbers.
For example, we can easily interpret the pictogram to see who read the most and who read the least.
Amy read the most with 5 books.
Alex read the least with 1 book.
There is no need to read every number in the list to answer these questions. We simply need to look for the longest or shortest set of books to see who has read the most or least.
In the example below we are asked, “Who read the same number of books?”.
We look for the people with the same number of books drawn in each row.
Sarah and Terry both read 2 books.
In the next question we are asked, “Who read more than 2 books?”.
Both James and Amy both read more than 2 books.
When teaching the interpretation of pictograms, it is important to explain that 2 books is not more than 2 books.
It is a common mistake to include the people that read 2 books as part of this answer.
2 does not count as being more than 2. We only look at 3 or more books.
In the next example each time we draw a face, it represents 2 people who have attended a school club.
Since each face represents 2 people, drawing half a face is worth half of this.
Half of 2 people is 1 person.
So drawing one whole face is worth 2 people and drawing half a face is worth 1 person.
The list of what each drawing is worth on a pictogram is called the key.
The pictogram below shows the number of people who attended the club each day.
On Monday there are two whole faces drawn.
Each face is worth two people so we have two lots of two which is four.
On Tuesday we have half a face, which is worth 1 person.
On Wednesday we have a whole face, worth 2 people plus half a face, worth 1.
2 + 1 =3, so 3 people attended the club on Wednesday.
On Thursday there are 3 full faces which is three lots of 2.
We also have another half of a face which is worth 1 person.
In total on Thursday we have 7 people.
On Friday, we have 5 people attending the club and we are asked to draw the pictogram row to represent this.
5 is made up of 2 twos and a 1.
So we draw two full faces and one half a face.
In the example below we are counting the number of cars that use a car park each day.
We will draw one car for every 10 cars that we see.
Pictograms often use this because it is easier than drawing such a large amount of cars.
On Monday we have one car drawn, which is worth 10 cars.
On Tuesday we have two cars, which is two lots of ten cars. We have 20 cars parked on Tuesday.
On Wednesday we have one car drawn on the pictogram, worth 10 cars.
On Thursday we have 4 cars, which is worth four lots of 10, or 40 cars.
On Friday we have 3 cars drawn, which is worth 30.
In the example below, we are using the data read from the pictogram to see which day had the most cars parked.
The biggest number is 40 and this was on Thursday.
We can easily read the pictogram to see that Thursday has the most cars. We can see this from the image, rather than needing to read every number.
In the next example of interpreting a pictogram, we are now asked, “Which days were there less than 30 cars?”.
Remember that less than 30 does not include the number 30 itself. We need to look for numbers that are smaller than 30.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all have fewer than 30 cars.
We know that for every car we draw on our pictogram, it is worth 10 cars in real life.
We can draw half a car to represent half of this amount.
If the whole car is worth 10, then half a car is worth half of 10.
Drawing half a car is worth 5 cars.
Here is the key for our pictogram.
We will use this key to draw a pictogram for the values in the example below.
On Monday we have 20 cars, which is simply two lots of 10.
We draw two full cars.
On Tuesday we have 10 cars, which is shown with one full car.
On Wednesday there are 5 cars parked so we draw half a car.
On Thursday there are 15 cars. 15 is made from one ten plus a five.
We draw one whole car and one half a car.
On Friday we have 25 cars. This is made of two tens and a five.
So we draw 2 whole cars and one half a car.
In the last example, we needed to draw half of the picture.
In the most complicated school examples, we can be asked to divide our picture up into quarters.
Below is a drink. The whole image represents four drinks.
If we draw half a drink, we are showing half of four.
Drawing half a drink is worth 2 drinks.
If we half this again we have a quarter.
A quarter of four drinks is 1.
Drawing a quarter of the drink picture is worth 1 drink.
Below is the key to be used in this pictogram.
We will use this key to read the following pictogram showing how many drinks each person drank.
William has two full drink pictures drawn.
Each full drink picture is worth 4 drinks, so William drank two lots of 4 drinks.
William drank 8 drinks.
Megan has a quarter drink picture. This is worth 1 drink.
Sammi has a full drink picture, worth 4 and a half drink picture, worth 2.
4 + 2 = 6 and so, Sammi drank 6 drinks.
Bruce has two full drink pictures, each worth 4 along with a quarter drink picture, worth 1.
4 + 4 + 1 = 9. Bruce drank 9 drinks.
Here is our final pictograph example with the same key.
Fred has a quarter drink picture, worth 1 drink.
Grace has a half drink image, worth 2 drinks.
Jack has a half drink image, worth 2 drinks plus a quarter drink image worth 1.
2 + 1 = 3 and so, Jack drank 3 drinks.
Kate has a full drink image, worth 4 drinks plus a quarter drink picture, worth 1 drink.
4 + 1 = 5 and so, Kate drank 5 drinks.
With these examples it is important to keep referring to the pictogram key and it can help to write the number that each image is worth on top of the images in the pictogram.
Once you have written the number on top of each image using the key, you can add up the values afterwards.
Now try our lesson on Tally Charts where we learn how to draw and read tally charts.