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How to Explain Pie Charts

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    • 1). Draw a basic pie chart on a chalkboard or white board. Divide the pie chart into two halves. Tell the group that pie charts represent data using percentages that add up to 100 percent, or one whole pie. Ask if they can recognize the percentage of a slice taking up one-half of the pie.

    • 2). Draw another example of a pie chart, this time dividing the one half of the pie into halves again, creating a chart with one half piece and two quarter pieces. Ask the group if they can recognize the percentages of all three sections and whether they add up to 100 percent.

    • 3). Label each section of the pie chart with its percentage and explain that for a pie chart to be useful it must contain the data's percentages. Remind the group that they should set pieces in a pie chart in increasing order of size going in a clockwise direction.

    • 4). Ask the group or an individual to come up with a group of percentages that equal 100 percent and to draw a corresponding pie chart. Offer a list of common data sets and the equivalent percentages, such as a pie chart with three equal sections of 33.33 percent each.

    • 5). Explain the link between the percentage of a piece in the pie chart and the degree of the angle for that piece. A circle has 360 degrees, making 1 percent of a circle take up 3.6 degrees. You can multiply 3.6 degrees by the percentage of a section to get the degree of the angle for that section.

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