Resource Material for the IT PGCE:
capturing and modelling experimental data
The learning objectives for this session are that by the end of it you should:
In this session you will use two interface boxes - the DL plus from Philip Harris and the EcoLog from Data Harvest to capture data from a number of experiments commonly done in science lessons. You need to spend time exploring the features of these boxes so that you can meet the first learning objective.
You will also use two software packages written to help the collection display and interpretation of data - DataDisc Pro from Philip Harris and Insight from Logotron. Again you should spend time exploring the variety of ways these let you capture and analyse data.
Each group will then write a lesson plan which uses one of the activities you have done to help develop IT capability, noting that because of equipment shortages different goups of pupils will need to do different activities - and move between them.
When writing your lesson plans you also need to consider how the IT learning objectives match with those of the host subject - science. To what extent are the two sets of aims congruent?
This is the index to the lesson plans.
| At the Institute
There is a link below to a .pdf format sheet for each activity, all of which have the same four-part structure:
It is not necessary to do all six activities. What you should aim for is to use both the DL+ and Sense and Control and both DataDisc Pro and Insight. When using the software packages, you could also consider whether you would prefer children to use their 'built-in' analysis functions, or to export their data to a spreadsheet programme (as .csv files) and use that for analysis. This could have a bearing on your lesson plans.
The activity sheets
For the lesson plan you should look at both the science and IT National Curricula for Key Stage 3 and identify aims that are similar enough to be developed together in the same activity. The plan should be written on the standard pro-forma.
From 9:30 until 11:30 you will do a range of the activities. You need to make sure that you have used both types of hardware and software.
From 11:30-12:30 you will write your lesson plan - the equipment will still be available should you wish or need to use it. You will also have Internet access to access the relevant National Curriculum documents.
At 12:30 we will meet in a plenary to discuss the issues raised in the session.
The modelling aspects of this session links with that where you build a spreadsheet model. The data capture aspects relate to the session where you used a computer to control a mechanical model - since it is possible to use sensors such as those you have used today as inputs to a control box.
The most important misconceptions here concern pupils' understanding of the relationship between data and the models produced from them. This is discussed in the book "Learning with Artificial Worlds" by Mellar et al. (IoE library reference Loz Butb MEL).
The books by Roger Frost (see software links and tutorials below) contain numerous examples of classroom activities. He also has a website with more tips.
All IT teaching needs a context. In 'discrete' IT, this has to be created by the teacher while in 'cross-curricular' IT, it is provided by the host subject. This can be a great advantage. However, when using the cross-curricular mode it is necessary to ensure that the activity is planned to develop IT capability not (just) knowledge and understanding in the host subject.
How well the IT aims of this activity fits with those of the science teacher depends on the reason s/he wishes to use it. If it is to help develop pupils' investigative skills, then there is a good overlap (compare the 'Developing ideas' strand of the IT National Curriculum with those of the 'Scientific enquiry' strand of the science National Curriculum. However if the aim of the science teacher is to teach knowledge or understanding of a specific aspect of science, then the congruence is much more limited and it may be much harder to plan for the development of ICT capability.
It is very unlikely that any school will have enough equipment to allow all the pupils in a class to do any one of these activities at the same time. For this reason lessons such as this are often planned as a 'circus' of activities - as we did today - where the pupils move from station to station as they complete each activity. In the classroom, this movement needs to be planned and you need to take account of the fact that pupils will complete the activities at different times. Today we allowed for this by having more stations than groups and by giving a structured choice of activities - but you should consider other ways and incorporate them in your lesson plans.
You should look at the following units of the DfEE schemes of work:
Key Stage 2: unit 5F, Monitoring environmental conditions and changes;
Key Stage 3: unit 4 Models - rules and investigations and unit 7 Measuring physical data.
More ideas on datalogging in science can be found in two books by Roger Frost and published by the ASE:
Chapter 5 (pp 66-72) of Bridget Somekh's book 'Using information technology effectively in teaching and learning' (Institute library reference Loyx SOM) contains a brief survey of the research in this area.
Chapter 8 of Jean Underwood's book 'Computer based Learning: potential into practice' (Institute library reference Loyx UND) is also relevant.
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by Tim Brosnan. Please send any comments to: email@example.com
Last updated on 29th October 2001 .