A Pretty Good Fit

  • A Pretty Good Fit

    Tim Erickson
    We often look for a best-fit function to a set of data. This article describes how a "pretty good" fit might be better than a "best" fit when it comes to promoting conceptual understanding of functions. In a pretty good fit, students design the function themselves rather than choosing it from a menu; they use appropriate variable names; and they vary parameter values by hand—sometimes with the aid of residuals and other tools—to help their function fit the data.