Monday, May 20, 2013

Using Bar Graphs - Cancer Rates in the US

Good Morning & Happy Monday!

Today's activity uses bar graphs to help students build vocabulary and writing skills. Bar graphs are common in newspapers and magazines. They also feature on the IELTS Writing Task 1 more often than not.

Below is a double bar graph depicting cancer rates in the United States from 1999 to 2008, by demographic group, courtesy of the National Cancer Institute. Students answer questions about the graph and then construct their own with a partner.

If you're interested in improving your IELTS Reading score in the next few weeks, visit my blog this Tuesday (September 30, 2014)  to register for a free online course! Space is limited to 20 students.

Breast Implants

Breast cancer has been in the news lately, perhaps due to Angelina Jolie's recent decision to get a double mastectomy. I wish her well and agree that a woman's femininity is in no way diminished by such a decision.  Discussing Angelina's story would probably raise students' interest in the topic before they start the activity.

Thank you for visiting and have a great week!
Faiza Raintree

Bar Graph Depicting Cancer Death Rates by Time Period/Ethnicity


1.      What is the title of this graph?

2.      What time period is covered in the graph?

3.      What do the numbers mean, on the left side of the graph?

4.      How many deaths per 100,000 were there, of Hispanic women in 2004-2008?

5.      How many white men per 100,000 died of cancer in 1999-2003?

6.      Which group had the greatest number of deaths per 100,000, in this graph?

7.      Which group had the least number of deaths?

8.      About how many Asian/Pacific Islander people died of cancer during 1999-2003?

9.      Which groups went down in this period? Which group went up? Which stayed the same?

10.   Design and draw your own bar graph below. Do this alone, or with a partner. Explain your bar graph to a partner.

 Download the worksheet for this activity below.
Understanding Bar Graphs - PDF Worksheet

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