Teaching with Great Lakes data

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Geography and Geology


It is important for students to use real data when investigating a question or problem. Students have great difficulty with designing and conducting a research project and many feel that using data that is supplied to them is not "doing" science. A number of organizations are now making their scientific data available for use by the educational community. However, many educators and students have found geoscience data difficult to find and use. Ledley et al. (2008) suggests that organizations use educationally relevant review criteria for their data sites. As part of a National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) research project, a website was developed by Michigan Sea Grant using the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory's (GLERL) scientific data about the Great Lakes. This website is called Teaching with Great Lakes Data http://www.greatlakeslessons.com/. One of the methods to engage students in using data is the Vee Map. The Vee Map is a method by which any teacher can implement guided inquiry in their classroom. Inquiry requires students to use process skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. It was originally designed to work with classic laboratories. However, Coffman and Riggs (2006) used the idea so that students could gather online scientific data to answer a research question. This is known as the "Virtual Vee Map" because the scientific data collected is online or virtual. The pre-service Earth Science elementary teachers designed a research question for use with the Virtual Vee Map's guided inquiry approach and Great Lakes Data sets.

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