Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Teachers Making the Leap into Graphing and Data Analysis integration with Field Science Projects

Six Teachers created graphed data that their students, from grades 5 through 12, collected for 3  HF-LTER Schoolyard field projects.  Teachers were mentored by Harvard Forest staff at the Looking at Data workshop this winter.  Graphs and data tables they developed are available on our latest online publication, Teacher Developed Graphs and Data Documents; Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology

Teachers said: 

100% of teacher participants  rated the value of  the time spent working directly on graphing at  this workshop towards their teaching goals as "very useful". 

  • I was able to produce items that I need to use in the near future and that set the stage for the upcoming season
  • A good use of time that allowed me to get together with other teachers and professionals who are doing the same thing. It's a great time to practice some rusty skills and to bounce ideas off of each other as far as practice and procedures.
  • having teachers present gives everyone else the confidence to tackle their own goals and opens options we'd not considered before
  • totally immersive and felt like a real indulgence
  • Learning more and more about excel and the types of data to use and how to use it and even questions to ask the data to answer
  • (Gained) proficiency (in graphing schoolyard data), to the point of being confident that I can translate my skills into clear instructions for my students

Student Outcomes? 

Teachers reported that students will participate in the following activities this year related to Schoolyard data: 

  • I'd like (students) to start with hand graphing for a small data set, work our way into a larger data set for the excel and then I would have some more complex graphs ready for the kids to analyze.
  • I Will challenge students to generate their own researchable questions which they can then use their data and the database to collect data to analyze.
  • I think the groups that are collecting the data will not only do their own graphing, they are also excited that the data they have helped collect will be posted on the blog

We understand that teachers are extremely busy and that including authentic data analysis of schoolyard data can be challenging. Is engaging students in graphing or other forms of data analysis is worth the limited time you have or not? 

  • The groups we work with at Drumlin Farm are very interested in using graphing to help the students understand the importance of their data collection and learn new skills
  • This is a skill that can be used across many disciplines and in future careers whether or not they choose to pursue a science degree or not
  • I feel that graphing will give a visual value to information that is gathered each week. I also think the exposure to graphing skills will generate much discussion on other ways graphs are helpful.

See the graphs and tables teachers produced 

Perhaps use them as models for your own graphing lessons or have your students interpret the graphs: Teacher Developed Graphs and Data Documents; Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology

Friday, February 6, 2015

Is this a lot of Snow? Interpret These Snowfall Graphs

Okay, you say this is a lot of snow, right?  

Take a look at these snowfall graphs from Royalston, in North Central Massachusetts.  Would your students be interested in discussing/interpreting these? 

Is this more snow than "normal"?

Would graphs of snowfall in your town be similar as these or different?  

Graph by Aaron Ellison, Harvard Forest Ecologist

Graph by Aaron Ellison, Harvard Forest Ecologist

Does what you see in these graphs surprise you or not?