Tinkerplots is a software construction set of basic operations (stack, order, separate) that allows students to build their own plots to analyze data. Tinkerplots is especially useful for mathematics teachers striving to teach students data analysis in line with recommendations of the NCTM’s Curriculum Standards, and to inquiry-based science classrooms where students collect and analyze data as part of formulating and testing their own hypotheses. It introduces a new way of making graphs – by using a construction set of graph pieces that students add one at a time to build what they want. Graphing has never been so easy and fun! Students can explore their graphs to identify common measures such as the mean, median, mode, and more. In addition, they can drag an outlier and watch these measures change dynamically! Its colorful, easy-to-learn interface encourages student activity. Data coloring helps students detect subtle relationships in their data. Students can create, import, or download data relevant to their classes, or investigate more than 40 data sets included with TinkerPlots. Using the construction set students can graph data in multiple waysincluding dot plots, map graphs, histograms, scatter plots, and box graphs. Students can highlight a case in one graph and see where it is in all the other graphs. They can add text and pictures, turning a TinkerPlots file into a colorful report.
What’s New in TinkerPlots Version 2
New Software Features
- A Sampler Engine allows the user to design and run probability simulations. The sampler can include mixer, a spinner, stacks, bars, a curve, or counter devices. These options allow the user to set up events and the probability of events in different ways. Users can then plot the results, giving a visual representation of the outcomes over many samples. This adds flexibility to the program, expanding its focus from data and statistics to incorporate probability.
- Users can now collect measures (or statistics) from sampler data runs. For example, suppose you have just collected 100 repetitions of 4 flips of a coin, and observe that h, h, h, h occurred 8% of the time. You want to know how this percentage may vary if you repeat the collection of data. The history measure tool allows you to collect data regarding how often this outcome occurs when you repeat the run of the sampler.
- Dates are now recognized as numbers and can be plotted on an axis.
- Users can now paste images into the plot background, allowing them to see locations plotted on a map.
- A new icon style called Value Circle displays icons sized proportionally to their values.
- Users can now use the Ruler tool to measure distances between two values, including measures of center. You can lock the ruler onto some values to automatically calculate the difference for each sample that is taken.
- Auto-Tile Layout makes all objects visible in a single, non-scrolling window. Objects make room for one another rather than overlap. Users can switch to Scrolling-Overlap Layout if they need more space.
Sixteen new activities—in addition to seven updated activities—incorporating TinkerPlots version 2 functionality have been written to enhance a dynamic study of probability, data, and statistics.
Four new tutorials, two focused on data and statistics and two focused on probability, help teachers and students learn how to use TinkerPlots features.
Sample Data Sets
Sixteen new data sets (in addition to the previous 40) give teachers even more interesting and relevant data to explore with their students.
New help videos introduce teachers to the new features of TinkerPlots, and demonstrate how to use them effectively.