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Do your students adeptly analyze data from science experiments? It’s quite common for students to know how to conduct experiments, observe, and gather results, but also lack the data analysis skills to make meaning from their experiments. That problem is the inspiration behind this resource.
STEM / NGSS Aligned
Students are usually given the most experience with the first steps of the Scientific Method, but lack practice in the end stages. We often run out of steam or time performing experiments, and don't give students enough experience with the higher-level thinking skills involved in making meaning from experiment results … and that’s the most fascinating part!
The point of this unit is to shift the imbalance to the latter parts of the scientific method, giving much-needed, focused practice on analyzing and interpreting data.
When I made this unit, my goals were to:
Create individual lessons and guided practice for each sub-skill needed to think critically about experiment data.
Create pre-made, age-appropriate mock experiment data sets for practice and assessment. Each experiment’s premise, procedure, and results are succinctly laid out.
Create scenarios containing only four or five data points (enough to set up line graphs and identify variable relationships, but not spend all day plotting points!). (Note: students are reminded in the lessons that more data points are required to validate results, but the aim of these lessons is to analyze.)
This product download includes:
Four guided lessons, each with:
- PowerPoint presentation (Editable in .pptx and in Google Slides)
- 2+ student handouts with notes and practice
- 10 application/assessment printables
See below for more detail:
The Scientific Method and Variables
PowerPoint presentation (38 content slides)
- Review the steps of the scientific method
- Introduce new terminology (trials and theory)
- Define and practice identifying independent variable, dependent variable, and control variables
Making a Line Graph for Science Experiment Data
PowerPoint presentation (32 content slides)
- Independent variable on the x-axis
- Dependent variable goes on the y-axis
- Choosing a reasonable scale
- Creating a title for the line graph
- Creating axis titles and labels
Identifying Relationships Between Variables
PowerPoint presentation (18 content slides)
- Discern whether the independent and dependent variables have a direct relationship, inverse relationship, or no relationship
Analyzing Results, Drawing Conclusions and Next Steps
PowerPoint presentation (25 content slides)
- Use data to determine if hypothesis is correct, partially correct, or incorrect
- Construct/brainstorm possible explanations for data results
- Create a conclusion statement explaining results
- Identify "next steps" (experiment repeat, re-design, expansion, etc.)
10 practice application worksheets with answer keys for class, homework, and/or tests
Note, these are NOT actual experiments. The data tables are made up. The free product (link below) in my store is version A of this activity, so you can see exactly the format you will be getting.
There are two versions of five experiment scenarios:
Does time off task affect grades?
Do readers make better writers?
Does skateboard length impact speed?
Does the number of Mentos affect Diet Coke explosions?
Are foods with fewer ingredients healthier?
In the two versions of each scenario, the basic premise of the scenario stays the same, but I changed:
- the data table format so that students would not be able to identify the independent and dependent variables solely by location in the table.
- the results
- Whether or not the hypothesis is correct, partially correct, or incorrect.
- Variable relationships (direct relationship, indirect relationship, or no relationship)
Because there are two of each scenario, you could have students compare different trials of the same experiment to graph as a double line graph, analyze data, determine next steps, etc. Or you can use them as stand-alone practice. When the students recognize the scenarios, it is another opportunity to remind them that good science requires multiple trials of the same experiment.
This resource was created for my 7th grade classroom, but I would also use it with an advanced 5th grade class or as review for high school. This unit is an ideal way to kick off the school year to provide students with practice with the NGSS Practices that are integrated in performance expectations for the Disciplinary Core Ideas. The NGSS practices are listed below with (*) marking those on which this unit provides instruction and practice.
- Asking Questions and Defining Problems (*)
- Developing and Using Models
- Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
- Analyzing and Interpreting Data (*)
- Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (*)
- Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (*)
- Engaging in Argument from Evidence (*)
- Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information (*)
Please message me if you have any questions.
What are teachers saying about the Analyze and Interpret Data Unit?
“Data analysis conquered! Thank you!”
"This is a LIFESAVER! I have been struggling to find a concise way to explain data analysis to my kiddos and this exceeds my needs by a long shot! Thank you SO much for such a useful product!"
“This is an area of my students used to struggle in. But with this well thought out product my students were able to understand and consistently interpret data”
“This has helped my fifth graders with analyzing data and graphing. Love it!!”
“Wow! Everything I need to teach graphs and analysis!”
“This really helped my students understand things like the different types of variables, and next steps. Thanks!”
“This unit was very helpful - I used it as an in class assignment with grade 7 and 8 students, then chose a different topic as a quiz. I really like that there were several different topics and data sets so that I could introduce the topic, then have the students work through it themselves. Repeating the questions and vocabulary is very helpful for my weaker students.”
“Great resource! Will use this year after year!”
Do you only need some of the pieces from this unit? Click on the links to buy some individual pieces:
You might also like these other great science lessons:
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