Tools to enhance Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Practice 4

This practice is all about making the thinking visible and we are lucky!

The MLTI tools provide a rich set of tools to support analyzing and interpreting data AND provides a great context for collaborating with teachers of mathematics. Some of the tools offer similar features so you and your students can choose the one that is the best fit.

As always let’s consider what the Framework says about the progression of analyzing and interpreting data from the elementary level through high school.

At the elementary level, students need support to recognize the need to record observations—whether in drawings, words, or numbers—and to share them with others. As they engage in scientific inquiry more deeply, they should begin to collect categorical or numerical data for presentation in forms that facilitate interpretation, such as tables and graphs. When feasible, computers and other digital tools should be introduced as a means of enabling this practice.

In middle school, students should have opportunities to learn standard techniques for displaying, analyzing, and interpreting data; such techniques include different types of graphs, the identification of outliers in the data set, and averaging to reduce the effects of measurement error. Students should also be asked to explain why these techniques are needed.

As students progress through various science classes in high school and their investigations become more complex, they need to develop skill in additional techniques for displaying and analyzing data, such as x-y scatterplots or cross- tabulations to express the relationship between two variables. Students should be helped to recognize that they may need to explore more than one way to display their data in order to identify and present significant features. They also need opportunities to use mathematics and statistics to analyze features of data such as covariation. Also at the high school level, students should have the opportunity to use a greater diversity of samples of scientific data and to use computers or other digital tools to support this kind of analysis.

Students should be expected to use some of these same techniques in engineering as well. When they do so, it is important that they are made cognizant of the purpose of the exercise—that any data they collect and analyze are intended to help validate or improve a design or decide on an optimal solution.

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Numbers – Students can use this software to enter, display, and analyze data in tables, spread sheets, and variety of graphs.

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Data Studio – Students can collect realtime data using PASPORT sensors OR  enter data from other sources to create graphs.   Students can use a variety of tools to analyze, summarize, and display their results.

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Students can quickly sketch a graph and then extract data from it in a number of ways. It is very useful as a way to show trends and concepts without needing extensive data sets.

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Logger Pro – Students can collect realtime data using Vernier probes OR enter data from other sources to create graphs.   Students can use a variety of tools to analyze, summarize, and display their results.

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Bento – This is a database  management tool. Students can sort and create reports from their data.  There are a number of templates that students can customize.  For example, could image students modifying the Exercise Log to collect data for a heart rate lab. The program creates entry sheets for data that are dropped onto a spread sheet.

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GeoGebra – Students can use this geometry software to create and analyze constructions. This is a powerful geometry, algebra and calculus application and a perfect complement to science.

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Grapher – This tool is pretty sophisticated.  It can create 2D and 3D graphs from simple and complex equations. It includes a variety of samples including differential equations.  It is also capable of dealing with functions and compositions of them. Grapher is able to create animations of graphs by changing constants or rotating them in space.

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MyWorld GIS – Students can import GIS databases from the web and analyze geographic data. This offers a very different window on data visualization.

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PhotoBooth – Students can record and compare photographic observations.

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SketchUp – This program should also be considered an analysis tool. Students can use Sketch up to test 3D models. By making creating prototypes in SketchUp students can test the practicality and feasibility of their ideas.
And . . . don’t forget that you can listen to the NSTA webinar on Analyzing and Interpreting Data with Dr. Ann Rivet from Teachers College Columbia University.
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