# Graphs Reveal the Structure of Matter

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Basic Graphing Dynamics: Observe Model Particles - Load Data - Answer Questions

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## Introduction

These pages contain two activities that allow students to analyze a very understandable data set: the masses of pennies. While the subject matter may seem ordinary, students will find that the graphical methods used by particle physicists are remarkably effective at uncovering patterns in sets of data. From these patterns, the inner structure of individual members of the data set can become evident.

Experimental particle physicists look at data much in the same way that students will go through these Web pages. Scientists must collect and sort an enormous number of measurements whenever they run an experiment. For every interesting result, like the production of a new particle, there are often other results that come from well-understood sources. For example, each kind of particle has a characteristic mass, and it can be identified by an accumulation of that mass measurement. In other words, separate clusters or peaks on a histogram of masses reveal different particles, or possibly different energy states of the same particle.

We recommend that you try, or demonstrate, the basic page before proceeding to the advanced page. Obviously, if you are a teacher, you should work through these pages on your own before you use them in class. Their performance can vary from computer to computer. They can also slow down Netscape, or even cause it to quit, as they tax the computer's resources with continued use. Usually, restarting Netscape is sufficient to continue. Please test the page so you can anticipate these problems during a lesson.

## General Descriptions

Basic Graphing Dynamics - This sequence of pages introduces students to how histograms display data. There is a teacher preparation page, a student page, a "Load Data" histogram page (which takes some time to load on slow networks and computers), and a page of questions. The "Load Data" page shows a grid of images that can change from white to black, and thus mimics the filling of bins on a histogram.