Workshop: collecting information

This page gives activities and resources for collecting experimental data and comparing it with computer models of that data derived from scientific theories.

Datalogging links


This activity is designed to introduce you to the hardware and software which can be used to collect data from experiments - and suggest one way in which this can be used.

In this workshop you will be using the 'Sense and Control' interface box from Data Harvest. Another very popular system is the DL plus from Philip Harris.

In addition to a box to link your computer with the sensors which measure the data, you need software to display and help the interpretation of that data. Two products which do this are DataDisc Pro from Philip Harris and Insight from Logotron. (You will be using the second of these today.)

Return to top of this page

What to do

In this workshop you will use datalogging software to explore simple harmonic motion. (This activity has been chosen as it uses equipment that is simple to carry and set up.) The activity has a four part structure:
  1. What the science says - this is a brief overview of the scientific ideas behind shm
  2. Capturing the data - this lists questions you will need to consider when planning your data collection
  3. Modelling the data - this lists questions you will need to consider when comparing the captured data with the scientific model
  4. Extensions - this gives some possible extensions for each of the experiments.

You should start by downloading the instruction sheet for the activity - and may need to look at the manuals for the hardware and software you will be using.

Return to top of this page

Other activities

Instruction sheets for some other activities I have used with my students can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

Reaction of acid and alkali Reaction of acid and marble
Cooling curves Motion sensor

Return to top of this page

Books and Links

Two books of ideas on data logging in science are:

  • The IT in Science Book of Data Logging and Control
  • Data Logging in Practice

Both are by Roger Frost and both are published by the ASE. He also has a website with more tips.

A brief survey of the research in this area can be found in Roy Barton's paper 'Does data logging change the nature of children's thinking in experimental work in science?' This is chapter 5 (pp 66-72) of Bridget Somekh's book 'Using information technology effectively in teaching and learning' published by Routledge.

Return to top of this page

This page is maintained by Tim Brosnan. Please send any comments to:
Last updated on 22nd May 2002