Columbia University Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Using Hand-Held Devices to Collect Digital Data

Najla Hallak

The Instructional Specialist of Sciences

Brooklyn Superintendent Office of High Schools




Multimedia interactive instruction has proven to be highly beneficial and productive for students’ cognitive retention. Using state of the art hand-held devices to execute science experiments help to enhance students’ connection to real world applications. Furthermore, it enables teachers and students to run and simulate multiple experiments in a very short period of time. Precision and accuracy of resulting data attribute to one of the multiple benefits of using technology to explore scientific concepts. The capability of transferring information into computers thus creating graphics related to key ideas fosters and utilizes Gardners’ Multiple Intelligence of teaching and learning.



ØIntegrating technology into classroom instruction

ØIncorporating New York State and New York City Standards in science instruction weaved with Math, E.L.A., Applied Learning, and Career Development into the science curriculum

ØUsing instructional strategies that promote the use of inquiry-based, problem solving protocols in the science classrooms

ØIncorporating “Real Life” multi-disciplinary applications.




Teachers Preparation:


This lesson plan is in reality a week-long professional development training institute. Selected teachers from the Brooklyn Superintendent High Schools District have been selected to participate in this program. Selected teachers have been identified as lead teachers in their disciplines, as well as, they have committed to extend their expertise as trainers in the various high schools for the next year. Participating teachers will acquire skills and techniques which would enable them to turn key training in their cohorts. The transfer of skills will take place during staff development days designated by the District Office.




ØComputer Lab

ØLaser printers

ØHand-Held Springs/Visors

ØSensors and probes




Each teacher will receive a hand- held spring/ visor device and probes particular to the executed experiments for each day.

· The first day will be allocated to train teachers on the use of the devices. At the conclusion of the first day all teachers would have mastered the manipulation and functions of the hand-held device. Teachers will learn how to sync the information into the computers to produce graphics, tables for item analysis.


· The second day teachers will conduct experiments in their own field of expertise of teaching. Participants will search the Internet for similar experiments and simulate similar settings. At the end of the day teachers have to design experiments suitable for their classes aligned with the State and City Standards. Work stations will have set ups as:


o Samples of pond water

o Chemicals to test for endothermic and exothermic reactions

o Topographic 3-D plateaus

o Radioactive isotopes.


· The third and day will allow teachers to take turns in experimenting with other stations. The task then will be to modify the experiments to cross correlate to science disciplines.


· The fourth day will allow teachers to field experience tasks using the portable devices and probes at The Gateway Recreation Center/Bennet Field and Ecology Village.


· The fifth day will be the culminating effort for the participants to put together a lab manual displaying experiments meeting the objectives of the week-long training. Written document would satisfy the State and City Standards of performance in correlation to multidisciplinary approach.


Extended Goals:


Trained teachers will turn key skills and techniques acquired through the training to train and mentor other teachers in their schools and cohorts. Further goals would be to mentor students for the Intel Science Search as well as to build capacity in interactive multimedia culture in their schools.

Overview of the performance standards:

This Professional Development Plan clearly shows the alignment of science instruction and assessment to the State and City Science, Math, E.L.A., Applied Learning Standards. Alignment will be examined through the implementation of the “Key Ideas” with the standards

The Physical Science Standards:

Classroom instruction would assess student’s demonstration:

Understanding Matter’s structure and properties

Understanding Motion and Forces

Understanding Conservation of Energy

Understanding Matter and Environmental Interactions

The Life Science Standards:

Classroom instruction would assess student’s demonstration:

Understanding of Evolution

Understanding of interdependence of organisms

Understanding Matter, Energy, and organization of the Living Systems

Understanding of Evolution, Diversity, and Adaptation of organisms.

Earth and Space science Standards:

Classroom instruction would assess student’s demonstration:

Understanding concepts of life science

Understanding of natural resources and their management

Science Connections and Applications Standards:

Classroom instruction would assess student’s demonstration:

Understanding of unifying concepts

Understanding of designed world

Understanding of health

Understanding of technology and science impacts

Scientific Thinking:

Classroom instruction would assess student’s demonstration:

Framing questions to distinguish cause and effect

Explain variety of observation and phenomena

Use concepts from reliable resources to develop explanations and models-makes appropriate adjustments

Proposes, recognizes, and critiques alternative explanations

Distinguishes facts from fiction

Identifies problems, proposes solutions, and evaluates the accuracy and outcomes of investigations

Works individually and in teams to collect and share data and ideas.

Scientific Tools and Technologies:

Classroom instruction would assess student’s demonstration:

Uses tools and technology to measure objects, organisms, and phenomena

Records and stores data in a variety of formats

Collects and analyzes data according to Math Standard 4

Acquires information from multiple sources

Recognizes and limits sources of bias in data


Scientific communication:

Classroom instruction would assess student’s demonstration:

Represents data in multiple ways

Argues from evidence

Critiques published materials

Explains a scientific concept or procedure to other students

Communicates in a form suited to the purpose and the audience

Scientific Investigation:

Classroom instruction would assess student’s demonstration:

Demonstrates scientific competence by completing a controlled experiment

Demonstrates scientific competence by completing fieldwork

Demonstrates scientific competence by completing a design

Demonstrates scientific competence by completing secondary research.


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