Analyzing Data and Extending the Experience
Once you collect the data or observations, the decision about how to communicate the results to students and link it to what they are learning in class is very important. Some things to consider:
- It is useful for students to see not only the data they have collected but also data from other students or groups. Sometimes it might not be practical to compile the data in class. Think about whether it makes more sense to present the compiled data in the following class or to present it using a course website.
- Think about how students will interact with the data. In some cases it is most helpful for the instructor to organize the data into graphs or charts for the students - for more advanced students, dealing with the data can be part of the experience.
- Ask the students to interpret the results rather than presenting them the way you might in a seminar.
- Guide a discussion of how the experiment relates to course material using leading questions.
- Near the end of the discussion of the experiment, ask your students "What would happen if we changed some aspect of the experiment?"
- Ask your students how to modify the experiment in which they participated to test a new hypothesis. This is a good strategy later in the semester when you encounter related course topics.