Using Project EDDIE modules in Environmental Earth Science
About this Course
Environmental Earth Science
EDDIE Module Developed
Instructors are always trying to find new and innovative ways for students to gain more confidence and familiarity with data analysis. No matter what level of student you are teaching, EDDIE modules are a great tool to enhance student quantitative reasoning. The modules are well organized, have clear learning objectives/materials and most important, they are fun!
Relationship of EDDIE Module(s) to my Course
The Biodiversity module was designed for an introductory Environmental Earth Science course for non-majors. The module was taught as a two hour lab mid-way through the semester after a unit on ecology and evolution. Prior to the lab, the students had some exposure to excel and data management but didn't have much experience working with large data sets. One of the key objectives of the Biodiversity module is for students to gain confidence in organizing, analyzing and explaining reef fish data from the Florida keys which is a great fit for one of the course learning outcomes which is to "understand at a basic level how to collect, analyze and graphically present scientific data."
What key suggestions would you give to a colleague before they used the activity in their teaching?
The module is designed for beginners in excel but if your students were new to excel it may be helpful to do some of the excel tutorials that I provided in the instructor materials. I would also recommend walking students through some of the calculations they will be doing in the lab introduction. There is a simple introductory excel example that can be used in the instructor materials and the introductory Powerpoint for the module walks student through a simple example as well.
How did you address challenges in teaching with the module?
For the most part, students were fairly comfortable doing the calculations but some students struggled to interpret their findings. Having students use the tables in the module to see all of their data together rather than on separate sheets can make the interpretation easier. Also, referring students back to the introduction of the module where the diversity indices are reviewed and explained was helpful.
After completing the module, students had a better understanding of several key diversity metrics and were able to calculate those metrics for the Florida Keys Reef Visual Census.
The module has lots of helpful steps for students to follow so they can gain confidence in calculating the different diversity indices in excel. Students also learned how to use pivot tables to organize their data and how they can use pivot tables to examine specifics subsets of their data, such as benthic habitat type.