Having had students use Wolfram Alpha to calculate a least-squares-fit best line through their data. I decided to help students finish up the bulk of their lab report leaving the conclusion for homework. Specifically, thanks to the modeling approach we established the following procedures
- All data sets must be explained via a required a physical model, a (labelled) graph and a mathematical model (equation)
- The units of every term in the linear equation must be stated
- An interpretation of the slope and the intercepts is required for credit. Language that restates the a given term (eg. the slope means the rise over run) will not be accepted.
I think this is a great way to scaffold the students to the buggy lab. A great summary of this lab by Gary Abud Jr. (a chemistry modeler) is given below:
We will keep things linear until we get ready to study acceleration at which point we will incorporate non-linear graphs. I have decided that I want to focus ONLY on math skills as they directly relate to the physics we need to do immediately.