Stats and physics get a synergistic boost from big data

Grant Rayfield, Online Editor

Liberty has undergone many significant changes in the past year, most noticeably the completion of the school remodel. Yet many of the less prominent changes are often overlooked. One of these changes is the new cooperation set to happen between the Honors Physics and AP Statistics classes in analyzing statistical data as part of labs conducted in both classes.

“We’re trying to create a synergistic relationship between stats and physics so that kids at Liberty High School can better leverage the A-B schedule, and be more competitive to elite colleges,” Honors Physics teacher Mark Buchli said.

The new labs in AP Stats and Honors Physics will deal with “big data,” which are data sets with enough points that analyzing each individual point would be exhaustive. Buchli will use these data sets to make lesson plans for AP Stats and Honors Physics.

“I’m trying to facilitate [students’ abilities to conduct research projects] by making available a varied smorgasbord of big data,” Buchli said.

There are already two sources of big data at Liberty, which Buchli is using to make lesson plans for AP Stats and Honors Physics: the solar array and a power usage monitoring system that he had installed in the Performing Arts Center. The Honors Physics class will approach the data from the scientific perspective to understand the potential causes of the trends in the data, while the AP Stats class will study the mathematical trends of the data.

“Statistics and physics are inextricably tied together; you can’t do physics today without knowing stats,” Buchli said.