Class Copy

Marble and Ramp Data Analysis


  1. In this lab, the student typically changed the GPE by changing the height of the ramp or marble.
  2. This changed the distance that the wooden block moved. The block distance is our proxy for KE.
  3. Each group likely had its own unique setup. We will attempt to normalize the classes' data sets to compare results.
  4. At times it is difficult to visualize the relationships among numbers if they are in an inconvenient form. The data table on the left contains a list of measurements.
  5. This raw data can be converted into a form that is easier to understand by dividing all the measurements by the value of the smallest (as shown in the second table on the right).
  6. This process is called normalizing the data. Now it is easier to see the third measurement is 19 times larger than the first measurement.
  7. Example Table 1
    Raw Data (mm)
    Example Table 2
    Raw Data (mm) divided by = normalized data
    0.0625 0.0625 1
    0.125 0.0625 2
    1.1875 0.0625 19
    0.875 0.0625 14

  8. There are many ways to normalize data. This is just one way.


  1. Prepare a table of your data.
  2. Record the height measurements.
  3. Divide all the height values by the smallest height value. Record the quotient as the normalized height.
  4. Record the distance the block moved. This is our stand-in for KE (our proxy measurement).
  5. Divide all the KE proxy values by the smallest KE proxy value. Record the quotient as the normalized KE proxy.
Data Table
Height Normalized Height KE proxy (distance block moved) Normalized KE proxy


  1. Make a graph of the normalized Height (x-axis) vs. the normalized KE proxy (y-axis).