Teach with Data

Teaching with scientific data provides an entry point for learners to engage in science and making meaning from observations.  Using data in our classes, lecture, and laboratories focuses learning on the process of science while capitalizing on new opportunities created by data sharing and web technology.

We define Data-enhanced learning experiences, as including activities in which students collect and interpret their own data and those in which they explore research databases to answer questions. Data enhanced learning experiences can:

Prepare students to address real-world complex problems;

Develop students’ ability to use scientific methods, including consideration of the values and ethics of working with data;

Teach students how to critically evaluate the integrity and robustness of data or evidence and of their consequent interpretations or conclusions;

and Provide training in scientific, technical, quantitative, and communication skills.

Manduca and Mogk 2002. Using Data in Undergraduate Science Classrooms (Grant NSF-0127298)

The exponential growth in scientific data through programs such as the Ocean Observing Initiative (OOI) is providing exciting opportunities for scientists to mine data from sources well beyond their own university based research groups.  Often in the ocean sciences, phenomena of interest are too difficult and expensive for students to explore by direct experience in the classroom.  The OOI provides an important and critical service to bring ocean science data to the classroom for authentic learning experiences.

Software tools developed for undergraduate teaching using OOI data support students in developing evidence and reasoning skills.  By incorporating this framework of claims evidence, and reasoning for scientific explanation into EPE online exercises, instructional strategies, and assessments, we hope to build students’ conceptual understanding and improve their ability to think and communicate more scientifically.

The EPE’s online data investigations, strive to help students develop strong argumentation skills by focusing on analyzing evidence and backing up their claims. The ability to make and understand scientific claims, analyze evidence, and develop arguments from the analysis of data is critical to student learning success and to compete in the modern workforce.