TinkerPlots Overview

TinkerPlots is a data visualization and modeling tool developed for use by middle school students through to university students. TinkerPlots can be used to teach grades 4 and up in subjects including math, statistics, social science, or physical or biological science content - in any course in which data are relevant.

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Curriculum Standards

In the USA, TinkerPlots is especially useful for mathematics teachers striving to teach students data analysis in line with recommendations of the NCTM's Curriculum Standards, the Common Core State Standards for Probability and Statistics and to inquiry-based science classrooms where students collect and analyze data as part of formulating and testing their own hypotheses.

In Australia, TinkerPlots is useful for mathematics teachers striving to teach students the Statistics and Probability strand of The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics.

TinkerPlots is similarly useful in most other parts of the world.

The Sampler Engine

With the Sampler Engine, students can design and run probability simulations, then plot the results to give a visual representation of the outcomes over many samples. With the Sampler Engine, TinkerPlots expands its focus from data and statistics to incorporate probability.

Graphing in TinkerPlots

We start where students are.

Students can begin using TinkerPlots without knowledge of conventional graphs or different data types, without thinking in terms of variables or axes.

By progressively organizing their data,

By ordering, stacking, and separating data icons, students gradually organize data to answer their questions. Students can analyze data that come with the program, that they download from the Internet, or that they enter themselves.

students design their own plots,

Using the construction set of basic operations, students create a wide variety of graphs, including standards like pie charts, histograms, and scatterplots, and novel graphs of their own invention.

transforming one display into another

Because plots are built up in stages, students can deconstruct unfamiliar plots to learn how to interpret them. Students can save the current plot configuration as a new command ("skyline graph") to later recreate that plot type in one step.

in search of group differences and trends.

To perceive variability in data, TinkerPlots offers more than position along axes; it also offers differences in icon size, color, and sound. These additional modalities allow students to detect covariation in powerful and intuitive ways.