I think the use of graphs is great. I use them a lot to help me visualise and understand problems and, you know what they say, a picture (or graph) is worth 1000 words.
However, again and again I have come across students who "hate" graphs and really struggle to understand the point. They can not look at a graph and get any useful information from it and they do not really understand how a graph works. I have tried many different strategies to help students get to grips with graphs and have tried, in vain, to get them more enthusiastic to use graphs and to appreciate the benefits.
A couple of days ago I had a breakthrough with one class of students who particularly struggle with maths. It was completely unexpected and unplanned but in hindsight, I think the task was a brilliant one for introducing graphs.
I was using the task to try to help my students get a better understanding of algebra and what letters in maths actually mean. It was a short nrich task that asks a simple question: