# Discussion Which of these 3 graphs is more intuitive?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Wattosan, Oct 20, 2022.

1. ### Wattosan

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Hello,

I am working on an educational game and we are trying to visualize energy spent to carry out a nuclear reaction and energy received. One idea is to put this roughly on a graph. Keep in mind that energy spent could be considered "negative" and energy received "positive".

All that we want to show is that it takes energy to carry out a nuclear reaction (energy spent) and that after the reaction some energy is received and that received energy is greater than energy spent.

Keep in mind that the bars will be animated in from 0 value to whatever the correct value is, starting with the energy spent first and then the energy received.

Which of these 3 graphs do you think would feel more intuitive to 8th and 9th graders?

Graph A

Graph B

Graph C

Thank you!

2. ### Antypodish

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For me is B, but swap them around.

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3. ### DevDunk

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Graph B. you can easily see the difference between the surplus there.
Maybe add a dotted line from the end of the red graph to the blue grapg

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4. ### Wattosan

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You mean animate "received" before "spent"? Or swap positions? Why do you think so?

5. ### Zuntatos

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Nov 18, 2012
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Energy received before energy spent makes a natural "A minus B" math to get to "net energy gain"
And it's a type of graph that everyone gets to know intuitively. While the other types may directly provide that "net gain" information, you take more time parsing the strange graph type than extracting the information

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6. ### Antypodish

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Swap position. Is more logical.
To give away, you need first have some. So you receive energy first, then spend it.

However in chemical reaction, atoms cary some energy already. But still, you most likely want to display receive first and spent below.

7. ### Wattosan

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No, the energy received from somewhere to carry out a nuclear reaction is not needed to be visualized. That would be a 3rd type. The way these reactions are taught is that

1. firstly, you put in energy (it does not matter where you received it from) and thus you "spend" the energy.
2. due to you spending energy you are able to cause a nuclear reaction.
3. because of the nuclear reaction happening, energy is now released in different forms of radiation.

So firstly, spend and then release. Yes, technically you could have receive -> spend -> release. But receive = spend. Release here does not mean that you are releasing energy to cause a nuclear reaction. The released energy in this context is received after you have put in your energy (spent energy).
Imagine that you are pulling the trigger of a gun. You spend energy to pull the trigger (you received this energy from eating food but this is not important). The gunpowder ignites, i.e a reaction happens, and boom, the bullet flying out carries kinetic energy, which is what you call released energy in this context.
Released energy is not the energy you used to pull the trigger, instead it is the kinetic energy of the bullet caused by the explosion in the barrel, which was initiated by you spending energy to pull the trigger.

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8. ### xVergilx

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Graph B, or A if right part after the line is removed (no need to duplicate already displayed data)

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9. ### neginfinity

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I'd prefer following:
"Energy Spent", going down, red.
"Net Gain" (received - spent), going up or down.

All starting from the same horizontal line.

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10. ### BIGTIMEMASTER

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Jun 1, 2017
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yellow indicating surplus, and vice versa for deficit.

Not necessary, but helps reinforce the important thing being communicated by graph..

Don't change colors completely because then it's confusing. Keep same border so it is immediately clear. The dashed line modifier should be clear that you are just indicating which amount of the progress bar is surplus/deficit.

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11. ### neginfinity

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Actually this usually means the power is dropping. I.e. yellow segment is how much power output has been lost since the last time.

12. ### BIGTIMEMASTER

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this is an example. The principle is to be used, obviously not the details

13. ### Kiwasi

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Its worth consulting someone in education who works with the curriculum you are targeting. If you can match the to the formats being taught in math and science, you will save yourself a lot of effort and make your product much more viable.

I'd be really tempted to steal the format from an enthalpy diagram. While this is not exactly correct, it is a format that the kids will be using a fair bit in their later school years.

The other format that might be interesting is a waterfall chart.

However I note that both of these graphs are more complicated than what a year 8/9 student is used to having to interpret.