Sunday, January 26, 2014

DRY MIX Helps Keep Experimental Variables Straight

Do you have trouble remembering which variable goes on the x-axis and which goes on the y-axis when you plot your experimental data? There's a handy acronym called DRY MIX that can help you keep it straight.

You control and measure variables in an experiment and then record and analyze the data. There is a standard way to graph the data, with the independent variable on the x-axis and the dependent variable on the y-axis. How do you remember what independent and dependent variables are and where to put them on the graph? There is a handy acronym: DRY MIX
D = dependent variable
R = responding variable
Y = graph information on the vertical or y-axis
M = manipulated variable
I = independent variable
X = graph information on the horizontal or x-axis
The dependent variable is the one being tested. It is called dependent because it depends on the independent variable. Sometimes it is called the responding variable.
The independent variable is the one you change or control in an experiment. Sometimes this is called the manipulated variable or the "I do" variable.
There may be variable that don't make it onto a graph, yet can affect the outcome of an experiment and are important. Controlled and extraneous variables aren't graphed. Controlled or constant variables are ones you try to keep the same (control) during an experiment. Extraneous variables are unanticipated or accidental effects, which you didn't control, yet which might influence your experiment. Although these variables aren't graphed, they should be recorded in a lab book and report.

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