Unit 5 Days 1-3
I found this to be the most difficult unit to teach because it seemed disconnected from the more “fun” elements in Scratch, HTML, and what they were looking forward to in the robotics section. I found that the most useful part of the entire unit was the Room Data write up.
I did not create an entire new assignment for this lesson because I felt like the one provided in the lesson plan was great, but I modified it and made a second step out of the lesson. One of the major discoveries that students made throughout the project was that if the data was recorded in different units of measurement or if it was recorded with a different understanding of the data it could skew the results. I had the students rewrite the assignment instruction and record data based on their new instructions. After the students recorded a new set of data with the new instructions we analyzed the new data set and made comparisons. The data was similar, but there were key differences which reinforced the concept that the method of data collection and recording can have a major impact on the output that can be created.
I assigned this assessment as homework:
Your job is to help the school determine the students’ favorite after school activity. Develop a plan to collect information from students. What tools would you use? How would you analyze the data? Make sure to create tools that will lead to consistent and recordable answers.
Advice: When I teach this section again I plan to make a greater connection to Scratch or robotics. I think my students were disconnected from the subject and had a hard time transitioning. I would also like to work cross-curricularly with one of our math teachers to see if we could create a combined unit. Many of my students struggled with the math concepts from this unit and never really understood the connection to computer science.
Structure/Mods: I added the extension above to help students reflect on the issues from the lesson. I also think that in future semesters I will not start with this lesson, but will include a short 1-2 day lesson about types of graphs and methods to interpret data. I covered this information after this unit the first time I taught it but think it will make sense to change the order.
Helpful Resources: Microsoft Access is a great tool to help with data analysis. GFC Learn Free has a unit on access and Excel that could help students understand how to manipulate and understand data. The lessons are boring if used by themselves but can be great complimentary resources to supplement the lesson. I think that an essential part of this unit needs to be how to use existing programs to understand and make the most of data.