Modeling Oscillating Systems: Mathematics Component
Cross-Curricular Connections: Physics to Pre-Calc and Back Again

In a physics class, data collection during several experiments involving oscillating systems will lead to the development of models through the Stella software package.

These oscillating systems should produce periodic data.

The physics class will provide various data sets produced by their models for mathematical analysis.

The physics students will also submit detailed lab reports to the math students describing the physical parameters of each model.

Students will import this data into a specially prepared Excel spreadsheet that will allow them to determine the specific sine functions that fit the models developed by the physics students. They will investigate how the various coefficients of the sine function affect the mathematical model, and understand how to look at a graph and calculate the coefficients.

The mathematics students will then communicate to the physics students the mathematical models of the data they provided and how the physical parameters of the experiment relate to the mathematical model.


This unit involves computational modeling from a systems AND mathematical perspective. Communication between these perspectives will involve interaction between both physics and math students and require a deep understanding of the concepts involved. Students will demonstrate this understanding through both ongoing and summative assessments requiring both technical understanding and an ability to communicate information