Frequently Asked Questions
- What do you mean by modeling?
- There are lots of kinds of modeling, including systems modeling,
stochastic modeling, and many others.
As teachers, we also "model" for our students, for example,
by showing good problem-solving skills or a productive scientific attitude.
In the Den of Inquiry books, "modeling" usually means
finding a mathematical function that follows the same pattern as the data.
- What about Fathom and Logger Pro?
- These are two excellent programs suitable for doing rich data analysis in introductory physics.
Overall, Fathom is more capable—and more expensive.
Read more about the differences here. (more)
- What about Excel?
- Excel is great at many things, but it's not particularly good at plotting functions on scatter plots,
and that's absolutely central to what we're about.
If you are an Excel wizard, you know that it is possible to do what we want, but it's pretty hard for
a lot of users.
- I never heard of Fathom. What is it?
- Fathom is data analysis software from KCP technologies,
the people who brought us The Geometer's Sketchpad.
Read more about it here;
it's mostly the text of a post I made to the modeling listserv late in 2005. (more)