More than Less than and Equal to Interactive worksheet image source: liveworksheets.com
Arguments in favor of using worksheets instead of charts: Worksheets are widely used in only one way – as worksheets. Worksheets and color-books are often considered less convergent tools. They lead children to believe that there’s only a single right way to use them, that they take little, if any, high-order thinking into account, and that they need little, if any reasoning. There’s actually a lot to be said for this – I’m just not sure it makes as much sense as the argument presented here.
First, we have the argument that charts make it easy to understand information in your chart. It might not be easy to understand every single data point in a chart, but you’ll usually know at least some of the values in a chart, right? You’re looking at a single point in a graph, right? You’ll also know some of the values at each point (the trendline), so even if you’re not seeing everything at once, you’ll at least have a good idea of the trend and its direction, and you’ll see whether or not it’s likely to continue to go down or up. But if the chart is made up of several points, how do you interpret the information that’s presented on each point? If you don’t know what those points mean, how will you be able to tell which point in a given chart is most relevant?
Worksheets are a lot easier to interpret. They’re very much in line with common human psychology – you can look at a chart and get some idea of what you’re looking at (even if you can’t always see all the numbers at once). On a worksheet, you can look at a graph and look at the values at once, which means that you can see trends much easier, because you can see the direction of a trend before you see the values. (In fact, you can see trends much easier on a worksheet than on a chart.) This also explains why people seem to like graphs better on worksheets. You can read the data at a glance, making it easier for you to understand (and also making it easier for your children to learn and understand, since they’ll have easier access to the value of their charts). When you are presenting a chart to children as a means of education, a worksheet is much easier to understand.
Worksheets also take much less time to set up. When a chart needs to be created – say, when you want to show seasonal data – you’ll need to create a chart frame, draw the chart, fill in the values and graph the data. But if you are showing data at a glance and in the space of a few seconds, a worksheet is much easier to use and much faster to set up. You can do this with just a few mouse clicks and a few lines of text.
Finally, charts are often easier to update. Chart makers are very quick to create new chart frames, as opposed to the long process of creating a new chart frame, taking up lots of time. Also, since you can edit the value fields as they change – and then update those values whenever you want, you can update the values without having to go through the long process of figuring out the value field values and then re-writing the chart in the chart. This means that you can easily update the values in a chart without having to go to a different chart frame to do so.
So if you are asking yourself “Is a worksheet better than a chart?” you might be wondering if there are better alternatives. There are certainly ways to use a worksheet (and chart frame) to make your charts and other data easier to understand. But charts are simply easier to use and they allow you to view data more easily. And if you want your charts and other data to be easy to understand, then a worksheet is probably the best solution.