Simulation Activity: Graphing Mark as Favorite (6 Favorites)

ACTIVITY in Interdisciplinary, Graphing. Last updated January 29, 2024.


In this activity, students will use a simulation to learn good graphing techniques, as well as how to interpret data presented in a graph. They will take a quiz in the simulation, and then have an opportunity to put their graphing skills to work and generate their own graph using sample data.

Grade Level

Middle School, High School

NGSS Alignment

This activity will help prepare your students to meet the following scientific and engineering practices:

  • Scientific and Engineering Practices:
    • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
    • Analyzing and Interpreting Data


By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • Identify important features and characteristics of good graphs.
  • Identify positive and negative correlations from a graph.
  • Interpolate and extrapolate based on the patterns presented in a graph.
  • Generate a well-formatted graph to present a set of data.

Chemistry Topics

This activity supports students’ understanding of:

  • Graphing
  • Data analysis


Teacher Preparation: minimal

Lesson: 10-30 minutes



  • No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.

Teacher Notes

  • The simulation can be found at the following link (note that students can access the simulation without an AACT login):
  • The introductory section provides an overview of qualities of a good graph and how to interpret data. It uses the acronym “TAILS” to help students remember important parts of setting up a graph – Title, Axes, Intervals, Labels, Scale – and introduces them to the concepts of line of best fit, positive/negative correlations, and interpolation/extrapolation.
  • Students often come into chemistry class being more familiar with bar graphs and/or line graphs than scatterplots, which are more frequently used in chemistry. This simulation provides an overview of how to set up a good scatterplot graph, in addition to introducing using a line of best fit to show patterns in data and interpolate and extrapolate based on those patterns.
    • If your students have trouble identifying which type of graph to use for their data, this resource
      from Carolina provides a good overview of when to use different kinds of graphs, including line graphs, scatterplots, area graphs, pie charts, and bar graphs.
  • The quiz section randomly presents 6 of the 12 possible questions, so that a student could repeat the quiz and not get the same 6 questions if they need extra practice.
  • Since the questions are randomized, students working on the quiz at the same time are unlikely to have the same questions in the same order.
  • The quiz questions have a few formats. Students will be asked to: 1) choose the better graph between two options according to the guidelines presented in the introduction (3 questions); 2) interpolate and extrapolate information given a sample graph (2 questions); and 3) identify trends on a given graph as a positive or negative correlation (1 question).
  • The simulation does not differentiate between linear and non-linear relationships between variables. Most of the examples given are linear (volume vs. temperature, pressure vs. temperature). There is an example of a non-linear relationship in the positive/negative correlation questions (pressure vs. volume), but it is a relatively small data range and the curve is not very pronounced. It could be worth noting to students that not all lines of best fit are straight lines – the data could fit better to a curved line (ex: inverse relationships of the form y = k/x such as the pressure vs. volume example, or relationships best described by exponential, logarithmic, or power functions).
  • Related classroom resources from the AACT Library that may be used to further teach this topic:

      For the Student


      Use the simulation at to complete Part 1 of this activity.

      Part 1 – Simulation

      As you go through the “Introduction” section of the simulation, take notes and answer the following questions.

      1. TAILS is an acronym to help remember the important components of a graph. Take notes on what each letter stands for in the table below.

      1. Define the terms below related to interpreting data presented on a graph. (Sketch a picture as well, if that is helpful.)
        1. Line of best fit
        2. Negative correlation
        3. Positive correlation
        4. Interpolate
        5. Extrapolate
      1. Take the “Quiz” in the second part of the simulation. How did you do? If you had trouble with any of the questions, make notes to yourself on what you missed in the space below. (Look at the “Explanation” when the answers are displayed in the simulation if you are stuck.)

      Note that the quiz presents 6 of 12 possible questions, so you could repeat the quiz and get different questions if you need extra practice.

      Part 2 – Practice Your Skills

      1. Using what you learned in the simulation about proper graph formatting, create a graph on the grid provided below to plot the data points in the table below. The data was collected for an experiment measuring how the pressure of a gas changed in response to temperature changes.
      1. Draw a line of best fit for your data. Does your graph indicate a positive or negative correlation between pressure and temperature?
      2. Use your line of best fit to predict the following:
        1. Interpolate Predict the pressure at a temperature of 295 K.
        2. Interpolate Predict the temperature at a pressure of 1.040 atm.
        3. Extrapolate Predict the pressure at a temperature of 360 K.
        4. Extrapolate Predict the temperature at a pressure of 0.842 atm.