Students analyze dramatic works using graph theory. They gather data, record it in Microsoft Excel and use Cytoscape (a free, downloadable application) to generate graphs that visually illustrate the key characters (nodes) and connections between them (edges). The nodes in the Cytoscape graphs are color-coded and sized according to the importance of the node (in this activity nodes represent characters in the work and their relative importance to the story). After the analysis, the graphs are further examined to see what the visual depiction of the story in the form of a graph tells readers about the inner workings of the dramatic work. Students gain practice with graph theory vocabulary, including node, edge, betweeness centrality and degree on interaction, and learn about a range of engineering applications of graph theory.
Material Type: Activity/Lab