Line Plots

Contributor: Ashley Nail. Lesson ID: 13404

There are many different types of graphs that are used to display data. How do you know which one is the best to show your data? Learn how to use line plots to display and interpret data!


Measurement and Data

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Imagine you have a garden. You planted 12 seeds for tomato plants. It has been a couple of weeks, and you want to measure and collect data on how your seedlings are doing.


  • What can you measure to collect this data?
  • What measurement tools will you use?
  • How can you display the data you collect?

The first thing you will need to do is use a ruler to measure the height of each tomato seedling.

Imagine you took measurements and wrote that data in a table:


Height of Tomato Seedlings
(in inches)

  Plant 1: 1 1/2   Plant 7: 1/2
  Plant 2: 1/2   Plant 8: 1
  Plant 3: 1   Plant 9: 1
  Plant 4: 1/2   Plant 10: 2
  Plant 5: 1   Plant 11: 2
  Plant 6: 0   Plant 12: 1


That's a lot of great data!

  • But is there a better way to organize it?

You could make a bar graph, but that would be a lot of different bars, and it wouldn't show us how many plants have similar heights.

Let's use a line plot!

First, we will make a number line. The numbers shown on the number line will be from our data:

line plot example 1

Since all the seedling measurements were 0, ½, 1, 1 ½, or 2, those will be the numbers along the bottom of the number line.

Also, notice that there is a title at the top of the graph and a label for the information on the number line.

Next, for each plant's height, place an X on the number line.

For example, Plant 1 has a height of 1 ½ inches, so an X goes above 1 ½ on the number line:

line plot example 2

Continue placing an X for each plant on the number line. Do this for all 12 plants.

This is what the finished line plot will look like:

line plot example 3

The data is displayed on a line plot!

Now, let's practice interpreting the data.

Look at the line plot and answer the following questions:

Now you are ready to practice on your own!

Click NEXT to visit the Got It? section to try out your new graphing skills.

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