Math Functions and Operations

1. Math basics

You’ll often need to define a mathematical expression when working with either the Data tool or Modeling. Mostly you’ll use the same basic math operators as those you might use in a spreadsheet program or other electronic tools:

()Parentheses to define order of operation

Example: For an object dropped under the force of gravity at time t = 0 and initial y position = 0, its y position as a function of time would be expressed by this equation (or one of its various equivalents):

y = (1/2)*ay*t^2   -or-   y = (ay*t^2)/2

where the vertical acceleration (ay) = -9.81

Good practice: If you’re not sure how any electronic tool will apply order of operations, define that order properly using parentheses.

Beyond these basic operators, here are some of the more commonly-used functions available in Tracker:

2. Additional functions

The following are special purpose functions that most students will rarely need, but they’re available if you ever DO need one of them: