Use the data analysis tool here: http://jasonstark.com/da

As I’ve taught physics using the Modeling Instruction philosophy, we collect quite a few data sets about physical relationships that need to be analyzed. I’ve tried a few ways for students to graph data:

Method | Pros | Cons |
---|---|---|

Graph Paper | * Requires a firm grasp of scales, slope, and y-intercept * Flexible — few limitations * No technology quirks to learn |
* Time-consuming * Requires multiple iterations to linearize non-linear relationships * Difficult to test several analysis methods to determine the best fit * Best-fit lines, slopes, and y-intercepts are not as accurate |

Vernier LoggerPro | * Quick * Takes care of units, labels, and titles * Easily adjust what is graphed on each axis * Support for force, motion, and other sensors * Linear fit is available with 1 button click * Supports graphing multiple data sets, a secondary y-axis scale, and many advanced features |
* Linearizing with calculated columns is somewhat cumbersome; requires quite a few steps * For novices, the huge number of features make it difficult to remember the correct steps to get the desired results * “Curve fit” is often used by students rather than the preferred method of linearizing data * Not likely to use this software in other contexts * Not widely available (though the site license is generous) |

Microsoft Excel (or Google Sheets) | * Powerful and flexible * Supports graphing multiple data sets, secondary y-axis scale, and many advanced features * Likely to be used in college, industry, etc. * Widely available (and for Google Sheets, free) |
* Need to set up own data table * New versions of Excel do not label axes by default * Google Sheets graphs lack some features and are not the most intuitive (though I haven’t used them in a couple years so perhaps they’ve improved) * Again, the huge number of features often make it hard to find the desired functions |

After having to guide students through the LoggerPro linearization process time and time again for each lab, I wanted to find a better solution.

I ended up writing a quick online data analysis tool (using the graphing capabilities of CanvasJS). Check it out here. It does most of what I need it to, which is to take a set of data, graph it, allow students to linearize it (graph y vs. x^2, y vs. 1/x, etc.), and output the best-fit line equation.

Improvements I may try to implement in the future:

- CanvasJS does not allow formatted text on axis labels (so squared, cubed, etc. is displayed as ^2 and ^3) – Find a workaround?
- Data input improvements (arrow keys for navigating)
- Improve linearization interface somehow – still thinking about this
- Display the squared, cubed, or inverse of a column in the data table (?)