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PURPOSE (Objectives):

Students in 8th grade science will:

1. Be able to follow a procedure.

2. Be able to collect and record raw data with precise measurement.

3. Be able to use Microsoft Excel to input data, convert units from English (inches) to Metric

(cm) and calculate averages and uncertainty (error).

4. Be able to use Microsoft Excel to create a bar and line graph.

DESCRIPTION:

This learning activity will take 4-5 50-minute class periods in the science classroom and computer lab.

Students will be paired with a partner. Each student will need a computer. One will be used to view a

Power Point titled “Creating a Spreadsheet” and the other will be used to complete the spreadsheet on

Microsoft Excel. (If fewer computers are available, then students will do both activities on one computer.)

Students need access to Microsoft Excel and Power Point.

1. The teacher should model skills needed in data collection including: marking a starting point

with tape on the floor, how to perform a standing jump, using the stop watch, how to run in

place safely, and using a yard stick and how to measure to the tenths place.

2. Assign students into pairs.

3. Give students 20 minutes to collect data.

4. Students should complete 10 trials of a standing jump.

5. Students should then run in place in place for 2 minutes and then complete 10 trials of a

standing jump.

6. All information should be recorded in inches to the nearest tenth.

1. Students should be reminded of computer lab procedures including: walking to and from the

computer lab, how to enter and exit the lab, seating arrangements, logging in, and saving

work.

2. Students need to bring their data from the previous day.

3. Students will be working in pairs using 2 computers.

4. Students should open up a new Excel document (or the template for modification) on one of

the computers and save it as their own file. If only one computer is used, there is a link to a

blank spreadsheet on the PowerPoint. The blank spreadsheet will update as the student

enters data into the spreadsheet.

5. Students should open up the PowerPoint presentation on the other computer and follow the

directions to record and analyze their data.

6. Project the PowerPoint to assist students.

1. Open the Excel template provided.

2. Save it as your own .xls file.

3. Go to view-header and type your name.

4. Enter data for the trials in inches.

5. If anything pops up to ask if you are managing a list SAY NO!

6. Use a formula to convert data from inches to cm (multiply inches times 2.5) and then use edit-

fill down for the other four cells.

7. Highlight all four columns and then click format-cells (choose number and 2 decimal places.)

8. Click insert-function to calculate an average for the two columns with centimeters only.

9. Use a formula to calculate uncertainty (error) highest minus lowest divided by two for the two

columns marked “centimeters” only.

10. Re-type the averages for each data set into a new worksheet. Name the worksheet

“Averages” (or use the template worksheet called averages).

11. Create a line graph of all trials- open it in a new worksheet and call the worksheet “Graph 1”

(use apple key to highlight cm columns only). Be sure to add titles for axes and an overall title

for the graph.

12. Create a bar graph of averages with labels- save in a new worksheet and call the worksheet

“Graph 2”. To name the series go to chart-source data then click series. You can rename the

series (the blue line).

1. Distribute Data Analysis Rubric to students and read through the meeting expectations column.

Take questions as needed.

2. Students should use their data in the Excel worksheet to calculate a range (take the average

minus the uncertainty for the bottom number of the range, and the average plus the uncertainty

for the top number of the range). Clarify that this is a BEST VALUE range, or a range of the

average with error (uncertainty) factored in, and not the other “range” that is used in math.

Ex: if the average is 10.5 and the uncertainty is 0.25, the range of the average would be

10.25-10.75).

3. Students should compare the two ranges of the averages to see if there is overlap. This can be

modeled with colored chalk on a chalkboard. If there is overlap, then it is impossible to draw a

conclusion based on your data. Overlap means the data is not statistically significant. No overlap

means the data is significant, and you can compare the two averages to each other.

4. Students should write a data analysis in paragraph form that follows the guidelines in the rubric.

Students who are struggling should take time to identify the manipulated and responding

variables (MV and RV). They should also identify any sources of error when conducting their

procedure (poor measurement, one partner leaving for the restroom, moving the tape, etc.)

5. Students should each complete an individual rubric when submitting their work. The data

worksheet and two graphs should be stapled to the data analysis.

(This is also the template that would be used for modification).

TYPE YOUR NAME HERE Standing jump before and after exercise

Reg Jump (in.) Reg Jump (cm.) Post-run Jump (in.) Post-run Jump (cm.)

trial 1

trial 2

trial 3

trial 4

trial 5

trial 6

trial 7

trial 8

trial 9

trial 10

average

highest

lowest

H-L

uncertainty

TYPE YOUR NAME HERE Standing jump before and after exercise.

Reg Jump (in.) Reg Jump (cm.) Post-run Jump (in.) Post-run Jump (cm.)

trial 1 48.00 120.00 50.00 125.00

trial 2 48.50 121.25 50.50 126.25

trial 3 49.00 122.50 49.00 122.50

trial 4 48.00 120.00 50.00 125.00

trial 5 49.50 123.75 49.50 123.75

trial 6 48.50 121.25 51.00 127.50

trial 7 48.00 120.00 51.25 128.13

trial 8 49.50 123.75 51.00 127.50

trial 9 49.50 123.75 50.50 126.25

trial 10 49.00 122.50 50.00 125.00

Highest 123.75 128.13

Lowest 120.00 122.50

H-L 3.75 5.63

Uncertainty 1.88 2.81

Will a human’s ability to jump from a standing position be improved by exercising beforehand?

This question has been analyzed, researched, and tested in a controlled experiment. Data shows that the

average jump with no exercise beforehand averages 40.3 centimeters. With an uncertainty of 0.7 the best

value range, or range of the average including error, is 39.6-41 centimeters. Ten trials were conducted in

a precise manner and error was minimized throughout each trial by starting at the exact same location for

the jump each time. Next, a different subject spent two minutes exercising by running in place. Then,

when the muscles were warmed, that subject performed the same jump procedure as the subject with no

exercise. The average for the ten trials of this procedure was 41.5 centimeters. There was an uncertainty

of 1.2, so the best value range was from 40.3 to 42.7 centimeters. It is interesting to note that the

uncertainty was 0.5 centimeters greater for the jump with exercise. Perhaps the subject was more tired

towards the end of the trials and had difficulty jumping as far in a consistent way. When the two data

ranges are analyzed, there is an overlap in the average ranges. The average ranges overlap from 40.3-41

centimeters. That means that there is an amount of 0.8 centimeters where the data could fall for both

testing groups. Due to the overlap in averages with the error factored in, we cannot draw a clear

conclusion about the data. Despite taking caution to conduct a controlled experiment, the data is not

significant.

NETS

ACTIVITIES CURRICULUM PERFORMANC

STANDARDS E INDICATORS

(Science

HCPSS and

MD VSC)

Students collect data by completing a standing jump lab. Goal 15g, 16a,

17a.

Students follow a Power Point presentation to record and analyze Goal 17a, 15g

data. 1 ,2

Students complete standard set up of an Excel document including Goal 17a

opening, saving as .xls file, titling, renaming, titling columns, re-

adjusting column widths, and formatting cells to 2 decimal points. 1, 2, 3

Students will enter data into a spreadsheet. Goal 17a 1, 2, 3

Students will use formulas to convert data from English to metric Goal 15g 1, 2, 3

units.

Students will use formulas to calculate averages and uncertainties. Goal 17d 1, 2, 3

Students will create line and bar graphs for all trials. Goal 17a 1, 2, 3

Students will summarize in writing the data collected in an Goal 16d

experiment.

Students will determine the sources of error that limit the accuracy Goal 17d

of an experiment.

School Skills and Processes”. The HCPSS science objectives are adapted from and aligned with the

Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum for Science 6-8 so we have not added the VSC objectives

separately.

NETS Performance Indicators can be found at http://www.iste.org/inhouse/nets/cnets/currstands/cstands-

netss.html.

Hardware:

A computer for each child. If this is not possible, then at least one computer for each pair of

students is needed.

LCD projector in computer lab for teacher to model

Software:

Access to Microsoft Excel

Access to Microsoft PowerPoint presentation with directions for the lesson.

Access to Microsoft Excel template if modification is being made for students.

Other Materials:

One yardstick per pair of students

Two small pieces of masking tape per pair

One stopwatch per pair

Pencil and data table to record data per pair

ASESSMENT:

Data Analysis Rubric

Information is fragmented, Information is organized in N/A

bulleted, or otherwise not paragraph form, with the first

in paragraph form. line indented.

Information is presented in Information is consistently N/A

the first person (using I, presented in the third person.

me, my)

Topic sentence is not Topic sentence includes the MV Topic sentence includes the MV

present or is incomplete. and RV. and RV, and also refers the

reader to tables and graphs.

Some data is not Data from all experimental N/A

discussed. groups, as well as control

groups (if available) are

discussed.

Averages/means not All averages/means included N/A

included for some or all for all groups.

experimental/control

groups.

Uncertainties and or/ All uncertainties and ranges are All uncertainties and ranges are

ranges not included. included for all included for all

experimental/control groups. experimental/control groups, and

the reader is referred to error

bars on a graph. (ex: Graph 2

shows the ranges)

Data is not said to be Data has been analyzed based In addition, numbers are used to

either statistically on analyzing ranges for support the claim of s.s. or not

significant or not overlap. Data is said to be s.s. (Example: The acid water is

statistically significant. statistically significant or not shown to be statistically

statistically significant. significant when compared to the

basic water, as the ranges (4-5.5

cm and 6-7.7 cm, do not

overlap.)

The data is not used to The hypothesis is restated and In addition, numbers are used to

support or refute the is either refuted or supported. support or refute the hypothesis.

hypothesis.

There are three or more One to two spelling and/or No spelling and/or grammar

spelling and/or grammar grammar errors. errors.

errors.

Units are not included for Units are included for all values. Units are included for all values.

some values. In addition, scientific words are

used enhance the quality of this

piece.

Excel worksheet and Excel worksheets contain all In addition to meeting the

graphs have missing or trial data, averages, and standard, the bar graph of

incomplete information. uncertainty for all averages has error bars (they

experimental/control groups. can be hand-drawn).

Excel graphs have a title and

labeled axes with units.

The teacher had to redirect Both group members worked Both group members

one or both group well together and needed consistently contributed in a

members to stay on task teacher redirection only once. positive way and needed no

two or more times. redirection from the teacher.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON SCIENCE RESEARCH:

Science Research Project Links!

1. Choosing a topic.

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis@ozemail.com.au/scifun/projects.htm#N42

This website was created by Peter Macinnis and copyrighted in 2001. This page is part of the GEM, the

Gateway to Educational Materials, which is sponsored by the US Department of Education. Click on “topic

ideas for projects” and scroll down through the list. Choosing a topic is the most challenging part of

science research! This list will help you to find a topic you are interested in and that has a real-life

connection.

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas.shtml?From=body

This website is maintained by the Kenneth Lafferty Hess Family Charitable Foundation and was

copyrighted in 2002-2008. These topics are arranged by category, which is useful because many students

have difficulty deciding which category their project fits into. These topics branch out into engineering, and

some creative ideas such as photography and digital video.

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_guide_index.shtml?From=body

The most important thing is not to panic! A science research project follows the pattern of the scientific

method, which is really just a way of problem solving. This website will lead you through the steps of the

scientific method, and will help you to keep your project organized. From identifying variables to creating

a presentation of the final results, this website has you covered!

This website is also maintained by the Kenneth Lafferty Hess Family Charitable Foundation and was

copyrighted in 2002-2008.

http://www.hclibrary.org/training/eresources.php

Your favorite library has all of the online resources you need! The Howard County Public Library has a

collection of online resources for you to use. Ask your science teacher or school librarian for an access

code if you do not have your own library card. Library cards are free! Just go with an adult to your local

branch to sign up. This website will be useful during three parts of your project: collecting background

research, explaining your results in a conclusion, and citing other scientists to support your conclusion (by

using other science journals).

http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/scifairstudio/askjvc.html

Janice VanCleave, who is a science fair expert and author of more than 45 books on science fairs, will

answer any question you have about science fairs! Well, perhaps not any question, but the website will

search a database of over 300 science fair questions. Just type your question into the box and click for

her answer.

http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/scifairstudio/handbook/index.html

Janice VanCleave and the Discovery Channel will rescue you from the depths of your despair of a

research project. Janice wrote a book, and then made most of it available (free!) for students like you

online. Be sure to click on Ms. McGolrick’s favorite parts: explaining your results, the sample presentation,

and anything with Do’s and Don’ts.

7. Elmer’s glue has another use.

http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/?pID=fair

Discovery School has a site called science fair central- sponsored by Elmer’s glue. Here you can find

definitions, rules for projects and fairs, tips, web resources, and ideas for displays. Also, the links and

books section is helpful. http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/scifairstudio/links.html

8. Ask an expert.

http://www.k12science.org/askanexpert.html

This site is run by the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education. It is affiliated with the

Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering. You can click on any of the links to take you to a variety of

subjects, from space science to oceanography. This is a good resource to find background information

and more facts to support your conclusion. I like the section on pests- you can ask the Orkin man!

9. eNature

http://enature.com/home/

This is a great site if you are doing a biology project. It has field guides, local nature resources, plant

information, expert information, and some fun things like puzzles and screensavers. There is a

searchable database of articles on nature topics that could be used in background research or in your

conclusion. I especially like the picture database called “Not sure what you just saw?” It is an interactive

field guide that helps you identify things based on pictures.

http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/sci-tech/scigs.html

Another teacher named Kathy Schrock made a fortune by working with the Discovery Channel! Smart

lady. She has a list of resources that are useful to both teachers and students. There are tons of

searches, databases, and resources to look through. For you sports fans there is even a link on the

science behind hockey. Also, you will see a site called invention dimension, which has information on

inventions and inventors.

http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/scientist.html

Enter the Discovery School Challenge to be America’s Young Scientist.

Megan McGolrick Megan_McGolrick@hcpss.org

Andreia Neto Andreia_Neto@hcpss.org

Beverly Barnes Beverly_Barnes@hcpss.org

COMMENTS:

Megan originally taught this activity without the PowerPoint. The students used Excel to enter their

individual data, and students learned how to enter data, create formulas, and make graphs by following

oral directions. The assessment rubric was used in the original lesson. We created this learning activity in

response to the frustration she experienced during that lesson. This particular lesson has not been tried in

this final form but knowing the areas of difficulty that needed to be addressed. We feel that this lesson

should be successful for the students and the teachers.

REFERENCES:

The items in this learning activity came from teacher prior knowledge.

Used with permission of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) National Educational

Technology Standards (NETS) Project (http://www.iste.org or http://cnets.iste.org) Contact: Lajeane

Thomas, Louisiana Tech University, P.O. Box 3161, Ruston, LA 71272; Voice: 318 257-3923 Email:

lthomas@latech.edu

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