Over the past few years, web-based tools like Tuva and CODAP have made it easy for students to explore data in intuitive ways that keep them focused on what the data have to say rather than on spreadsheet mechanics. Many teachers use these tools with curated, fully-prepared datasets. But these tools can also be used to explore data that the students have collected themselves. However, we have found that many teachers encounter difficulty in organizing student data to work well with Tuva or CODAP. In this post, we use a hypothetical student study of birds on feeders to illustrate the issue and how to address it. Continue reading
Sometimes we forget that a pencil is technology, an idea easily lost in this age of electronics constantly at our fingertips, and computers in every classroom. But a good pencil or pen, with its tactile connection to our brain, can be a useful tool for learning to informally assemble information from small datasets, picture relationships, and glean ideas without the constraints of pre-programmed graphing applications.
Graphing by hand is a powerful strategy for learning, and for teaching. Students gain several skills when they first learn to draw a graph by hand.Continue reading