Data Collection


Tina Wagenaar

Community School for Social Justice, Bronx

Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

August 2010



Subject:  General Science

Grade Level: 6-12

Overview: This lesson will encourage students to think creatively about collecting data on materials and substances they canít directly see.  Much of science happens at the microscopic, or sub-microscopic level and canít be directly observed.  Other means of observation and measurement, other than our sense of sight, need to be employed in order to collect data in a wide variety of situations.

Objectives: SWBAT:

         Develop methods to record information about materials they cannot directly see

         Apply appropriate labels to their measurements and identify the appropriate measurement tool to use to take the measurement

         Properly use the metic system


Do Now:

Before scientists had the technology to look at the tiny things that make up our world, how do you think they were able to run experiments and collect data? Do Now Worksheet



           o   Shoe box

           o   Film containers

           o   Plastic (opaque) containers

           o   Dark plastic bags

           o   Etc.

           o   Coins

           o   Gum

           o   Chewed Gum

           o   Soap

           o   Water

           o   Sand

           o   Seeds

           o   Ice

           o   Heat pad/ ice packs

           o   Anything

           o   Balance

           o   Ruler

           o   Tub of water

           o   Thermometer

           o   Etc.



            Pre-lab considerations:

1.)    Determine how many containers each group should examine.  A set of containers can be given to each group or a class set of containers can be created for all groups to share.

2.)    Materials should be placed into containers that are sealed to prevent peaking

3.)    Each container should be labeled to make them easy to differentiate.


1.)    Give students five minutes to complete Do Now.  If students finish early encourage them to be more specific with their answers.

2.)    Discuss the Do Now.  Have students volunteer answers and create a list on the board of student ideas.

3.)    Explain that as a class students will act as these early Ďblindí scientists did.  They will be given materials they cannot see that they will need to collect data about.  Discuss what kind of information you would probably need to collect.  As a class create a data table.

4.)    Explain the rules of the activity:

a.      No opening containers

b.      Collect as much data as you can about these objects in 20-30 minutes (depending on time available)

      o   Most data collected

      o   Most creative type of data collected

5.)    Share back different types of data groups/students thought to collect

6.)    Compare this list to the list students came up with from the Do Now.  See what similarities and differences there are.

Exit Slip:

Not all data we collect requires us to directly see the object weíre measuring.  Name one type of data you collected today and think of a type of experiment where you would collect this kind of data.





New York State Science Standards: 

S6. a. Uses technology and tools to observe and measure objects, organisms, and phenomena, directly, indirectly, and remotely, with appropriate consideration of accuracy and precision.

S6. b. Records and stores data using a variety of formats.

S6. d. Acquires information from multiple sources.