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How to design an experiment to isolate variables

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 10 months ago



3 examples



 Whe had to create an experiment that isolated variables in gliders. The whole point of this experement was to make our data more meaningful. Originally when we did the experement without isolating the varialbles, our data was all over the place. It was a big glob of random tests. None of the hang-times seemed to majorly corrispond with mass, wing aspect ratio, or center of gravity.

 To isolate variables, we had to make planes/gliders that focused on one of the variables mentioned above (mass, wng aspect ratio, or center of gravity). We were split up into groups, each with a variable we were supposed to controll very well. With the results from the tests that focused on a single variable, we were finally able to construct a final glider.




             When we did our project, the data that we collected didn’t have any clear results. There was no way to tell what factors affected the gliders that worked well and the ones that didn’t. We couldn’t tell the amount of mass, where the center of gravity was or how the wing aspect ratio affected the hang time of the gliders. So, we did another experiment to test how the mass, center of gravity, and the wing aspect ratio affected the glider’s hang time. 
            To isolate a variable, the other variables must stay the same for the data to tell whether the isolated variable changed the outcome. I had to see how the center of gravity affected the hang time. The mass and the wing aspect ratio must stay the same when the center of gravity changes because if there is different mass or a different wing aspect ratio, then the variable that made it better or worse could be either one. For the center of gravity trial, only one plane was used, so the mass and the wing aspect ratio would stay the same during all the trials. 
            When the center of gravity was tested, it was found that if the center of gravity was better if it was around the middle (55% away from the front of the glider). When the mass was tested, the glider with the less mass flew the longest. The aspect ratio didn’t come out that well, but the NASA website’s theory was that the higher the aspect ratio, the longer the hang time. The data that we had didn’t show that, or any other clear data. The shape of the glider changed along with the mass, so we couldn’t tell whether the mass affected it, or the shape.     






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