A graph showing circles all over that somehow correspond to the speed and operating ratio, but the graph is not clear. A green line rises along the graph.

A misleading or unclear graph
Source: Faster trains do better financially, Mulad, Flickr

Getting your bearings is important beyond just knowing how to read a graph. Sometimes a graph will be presented in a way that makes you think you have your bearings, but really you are being fooled into thinking the graph means something it really doesn’t mean.

The graphs you will look at in the following YouTube video do not (this is important) give any false information. Every fact they represent is accurate, but the bearings are not clear. You have to be careful about getting your bearings right.

Source: Identifying Misleading Graphs - Konst Math, YouTube

In the next exercise, complete the sentences on the left with the answers on the right; drag each word to the sentence it completes.

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Now, continue thinking about the video and answer the questions in the activity that follows.

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Graphs are very useful for readers. They do the job of visualization that makes sets of numbers understandable. However, you need to be a critical reader when you read graphs, just as you have to be a critical reader when you read written texts. Beware of graphs that are misleading.