Practice labelling the axes

Now that you know what goes on the what axis, try labelling the axes. In general, your label should have two parts: what you measure, and how you measure it, or units. Units should be in parentheses. Like this: "distance (cm)" or "time (minutes)" or " eyesight left (%)".

Putting in the units allows your reader to interpret the graph. For example, if you are graphing the grade received on a test vs. the time spent studying, it will make a big difference whether the x-axis reads "time studying (hours)" or "time studying (minutes)"! Likewise, its hard to interpret the graph on the left, because you don't know what the units are:

Below, I've written the "x" variable label, but you need to think of a possible "y" varible label. There are many possibilities, so think of one, then click "compare" to see whether you're on the right track. In some cases the units are not very obvious and might take some thinking.

Write a label for "y"...

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 "x": grams of food fed per day "y": daily growth rate of mouse

Did you pick some unit other than grams/day for growth of mice? That's OK -- there are a lot of different ways to measure the same thing. BUT, that's also the reason that it's important to tell people HOW you measured your variables!

Write a label for "y"...

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 "x": temperature in tank "y": # surviving fish in tank

Write a label for "y"...

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 "x": year "y": number of deer

Write a label for "y"...

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 "x": dosage of Dilaudin "y": time to relief of pain

Write a label for "y"...

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 "x": time since conception "y": # cells in embryo

Write a label for "y"...

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 "x": amount of studying "y": grade on test