This is a lesson designed to teach students about the results section, as well as how to use Microsoft Excel to generate tables/figures appropriate for the report.
NYS/CCL Standards (Content Knowledge, IAD)
Goals: Process Skills (Basic & Integrated) and Attitudes/ (Enduring Understandings & Essential Questions)
Students will be able to create a results section. Students will be able to navigate through Microsoft excel and use it to create figures for the report, which will be pasted into a word document.
Universal Design for Learning/Differentiation
Excel will be taught first during a skills class, with a later session in a computer lab to provide students with hands on learning and actual data. The activity allows for student choice because each activity is related to the individual’s hypothesis. More advanced students should have a more complex hypothesis and less advanced students will be working with a simpler hypothesis.
Computer lab, data from field trip organized for student use. Central database may be helpful too, to prevent students from using the ‘I lost the report’ excuse.
Excel Lesson Example (using coin density report topic)
Estimated Length of Activity:
3 class periods (2 hrs 15 mins – 2 hrs 30 mins)
Students should have a hypothesis and have participated/be aware of the field trip and related water tests.
The first day’s assignment is briefly introducing the results section. The students should know what goes into the results section, and how it differs from the methods and discussion (not procedural, not analytical). The students should all be working with their hypothesis. The data that was collected at the beginning of the unit should be formatted into excel for the students. How much formatting is at the discretion of the teacher. Make sure that anything you want to emphasize that they do (labeling, proper alignment) is all accurate in the version you provide them.
The idea is that the excel will be used to make any calculations, thereby teaching the students a new skill that they can continue using throughout their academic careers. So, even if they could use a calculator, show them how to do it in excel, and show them how to make appropriate figures. There is little example here, because you need to determine the skill level and ability of your students yourself. Screen shots are beneficial, and act as visual instructions. Included is an example from a different course where students learned how to use excel. The instructions were clear enough for the majority of the class to follow on their own. Day 1 should end at the end of the demo, making sure students are following along.
The second day will consist of a work day in the computer lab where students have brought their hypothesis (important for you to determine how well they’re interpreting the lesson). Essentially, it is the same as the prior day, however without formal class structure. Here students will be using the data and creating tables/figures for their reports’ results section. Make sure to go around the room and talk to each student during the period to ensure they are on track and understand what is being asked of them.
The final day of the results lesson will be in the classroom. Begin by asking students what goes into the results section. This should be a refresher of the first discussion. These are the ideas that should be covered:
Think about your hypothesis when answering the question.
Just tell the reader the facts.
Don't try to interpret the data or talk about why they are important.
Save your interpretations for the Discussion/Conclusion section.
Be sure to discuss the RANGE (lowest to highest) and AVERAGE of your table.
Make sure to discuss how the excel assignment works in conjunction with the writing, and that you don’t just want to throw a figure in without discussing it.
This lesson is more of a discussion. Be sure to prepare some examples using similar or actual hypothesis from the class. Ask students what test was necessary to prove this hypothesis? Try to have data on hand to provide accurate results in the example in class. Make sure that the students are asking questions. If they are not participating have them start writing up their results sections.
The assignment will be to write up first the figures, and then the entire results section. There will be time to perform a peer edit exercise for the figures, and following they will submit the entire section.
Assessment and Reflection
Assessment will be based on in class activities, peer editing of the figures, and written results section.
This lesson can be scaled up or down depending on student’s ability. I wouldn’t skip the excel part, it’s a good skill to learn, and most students enjoy some technical activities on the computer, even if it seems tedious to teach them how to use excel.