for the Journey North Teacher
Standards for Gathering Data
scientific research, scientists set standards (protocols) for
how they make observations, measurements, and otherwise collect
data so there is uniformity and their investigations are "fair."
If they fail to do so, they can't readily recognize patterns,
make accurate comparisons or generalizations, or have confidence
in their results, and other scientists can't repeat the study.
are some questions you might ask as you prepare to gather data:
variables do we need to consider?
can we keep things the same each time we observe or measure?
we be able to easily compare our data with that of other classrooms?
do we mean when we say _______? (How do we define ____?)
Standards Aren't Set: Journey North Examples...
a class measures the emergence of some tulips when they
see the first hint of a shoot and other tulips when
the shoot is 1/2-inch out of the ground, they won't
get accurate comparisons. (By defining what they meant
by emerge, they would have helped set a standard.)
young scientists post the number of monarchs they notice
each day but don't set a standard number of minutes
for their observations, the data can't be meaningfully
compared with similar information from other locations.
classroom or schoolyard research, you might decide to establish
measurement standards up front or let students discover the need
to do so (with your guidance and questions) as they try to make
sense of the data they collected.