Unit Two: Helping Students Interpret and use data-intensive documents
- Learners will be able to identify types of data intensive media
- Learners will identify strategies for teaching interpretation of data intensive media
- Explain the benefit of data using intensive media in the classroom
Think about your experience as a science teacher, or your future as a science teacher, and list the types of scientific documents you need students to understand. List the documents and provide a brief summary for how you go about helping students interpret them. Use the following discussion space to post your initial ideas: Talk: Discussion Unit 2
After you have done this, watch the embedded video in the following link and see what strategies you use that were mentioned in the video.
So why is it important to organize data? Without data intensive documents such as charts/tables, graphs, and diagrams, science would be a collection of numbers without order. Watch the following video on meta data, which incorporates questions you can ask your students when looking at data to help them understand it better. The video is embedded on the right side of the page. https://guides.library.pdx.edu/data/metadata
Supporting Scientific Text: Read the following article about teaching interpretation skills for science documents:
Throughout my years of teaching science, I have noticed that many students come into the class without the knowledge needed to chart or graph data. Many times science teachers take for granted that students will know how to chart and graph information. Unfortunately, this is often not the case and if students do not know how to interpret these types of data intensive documents, they are not going to be able to achieve our definition of science literacy. In order to understand complex systems students need to be able to interpret the documents that scientists use to disseminate information. The above article gave us several strategies for helping students understand scientific texts and documents. Watch the following video regarding interpreting graphs for the ACT test.
One area that students seem to struggle with is the interpretation of graphs. This can happen for many reasons, and sometimes it can be hard for the educator to narrow down exactly what the students are struggling with. There are many instances in science where students will have to interpret graphs including labs, tests/quizzes, and state exams. Sometimes the graphs are displayed in ways that make them more difficult to interpret or misrepresent the data (such as making a small increase on a graph look like a major change due to the scale chosen). There are tactics we can use as educators to help our students interpret the graphs more effectively, and create graphs for our students that will not mislead them. Read the following PDFs which focus on strategies for helping students interpret a graphs that may be confusing, and give suggestions for what types of graphs to have students use in certain circumstances. Even though state exams focus heavily on line graphs, in order for our students to be scientifically literate we must help them interpret all types of data intensive graphs.
The ability to interpret diagrams is another important skill in science. Some of these skills tie back into the skills of reading textual evidence, but there are other types of diagrams that can be re-worked to increase students' ability to interpret them. Read the following brief article on helping students interpret pictographs. http://science-infographics.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Pictograph-Help-Document.pdf
Respond to the following questions in the discussion section for this unit.
- What types of data intensive documents have we identified as being important for students? Explain why a student would need to be able to interpret these documents to be scientifically literate.
- Describe strategies we as educators can take to help our students interpret each of the following: Textual documents, charts/tables, graphs, and diagrams. Explain how we can help our students organize data to display it in an easy to read format.
- Predict the benefits of helping students to interpret these types of documents. How will adopting these strategies help our students achieve scientific literacy?
Answe these questions in the following discussion space: Talk: Discussion Unit 2
This unit gave us some clarity on what types of documents are data intensive and important for students to interpret. Hopefully you were able to add some strategies and tactics that you can bring into the classroom to help students at all ability levels to interpret scientific documents. I hope the discussion section helped you to reflect on different aspects of scientific interpretation that students struggle with and ways we as educators can organize, and help our students organize, data to make it easier to interpret and understand. It is important to think about the reading strategies presented in this unit as well because they can be transferred to help students interpret other types of scientific documentations. In the next unit we will focus on ways we can promote students to create these documents that align with 21st century skills.
ACT. (2012). Reading Graphs and Tables on the ACT Science Test. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiUK_JewKPM
Kesty, S., (2018). Supporting Literacy in the Science Classroom. Retrieved from: https://www.edutopia.org/article/supporting-literacy-science-classroom
MPRES Project Partners. (2015). Analyzing and Interpreting Data. Retrieved from: http://www.mtscienceducation.org/toolkit-home/scientific-engineering-practices/analyzing-interpreting-data/
National Science Foundation. (n.d). STEM Literacy through infographics. Retrieved from: http://science-infographics.org/
Portland State University Library. (2018). Manage Your Research Data: Documentation and Metadata. Retrieved from: https://guides.library.pdx.edu/data/metadata.