Tag Archives: STEM education

Easy STEM Data Collection for Teachers and Students

During this series, we’ve talked about some easy ways for both students and teachers to collect STEM data to help deepen understanding.  Here’s a look at what we discussed:

Charts and Graphs
Meaningful Analysis
STEM Notebooks/Notebook Data
Data Trackers
Rubrics and Checklists
Team Trackers
Formative Assessments

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Easy Data Collection for STEM- Formative Assessments

I’ve talked a lot about Formative Assessments (here- Engaging Students in STEM: Formative Assessments and here too- 10 Formative Assessments for STEM).  If you don’t already use them, think about building them into your class structure.  They are a quick, easy way to collect data on student understanding and depth of understanding.  You don’t need to add them to the multiplying pile of papers to grade, you can just flip through them to see what students understand, are foggy on and totally don’t get.

Knowing this information, even if it is just quick and dirty, helps you skill group kids for reteaching, review key concepts the next day and plan upcoming lessons.

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Easy Data Collection for STEM- Color Strips

This week we’re going to talk about another easy method for collecting data, but this one has the bonus of helping you take the first few steps analyzing it too.  Color strips involve students in identifying which skills they need to focus on (and which skills might need retaught in a small group, one-on-one, etc.).

Color strips are used after giving a traditional assessment (or using the color strips for your formative assessments).  Here’s how they work- After the assessment has been graded and handed back, students should get out their crayons or colored pencils.  Assign a color for correct answers and a different color for incorrect answers.  As you review each question, students will take their color strip and color each numbered square the correct color.

Here’s the beauty of the color strips- collect them and put them in order (or not- I used to assign each student a number and have them put it next to their name so that I could quickly and easily put papers in order).  Then, tape each to a larger piece or paper or the inside of a file folder.  Now you can look down each column and see which concepts the group has or has not mastered.

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Easy Data Collection for STEM- Team Trackers

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about Data Trackers, which are an easy way for teachers to collect and analyze whole-class data.  These are fantastic if you have a small class, only teach one subject or have an appropriate amount of planning time.  But what if you have 32 students and your planning time is nowhere to be found?

Using Team Trackers might be a good solution for you. For the most part, Team Trackers are designed to be used by the students/team themselves.  It does take time to teach students how to thoughtfully assess themselves, but working in teams will generally help them to be honest about their strengths and weaknesses.

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Easy Data Collection for STEM- Rubrics and Checklists

So far we’ve been discussing easy ways to collect data for STEM.  We’ve talked about a few ways for students to improve their data collecting (tables, charts and graphs, meaningful analysis, observations, and STEM Notebooks) and have moved to sharing some easy ways to help teachers collect STEM data.

This week’s focus is on rubrics and checklists.  We all know them and love them, but who has time to create them?  To help your students further buy-in to a project (or to their own learning) ask for their help in creating a rubric.  Start by having students suggest the categories that should be assessed and them have them work in groups to complete the scale for each category.  Collect their rubrics and combine them to create a rubric for the entire class.

If your students are familiar with using rubrics and checklists, this should be an easy extension, but what if they aren’t?  If students are not accustomed to using rubrics and checklists or you just don’t have the time to work with students to create them, here are some that will help!

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10 Formative Assessments for STEM

Throughout this series, we’ve examined 10 different formative assessments and targeted how each one can help students further develop inquiry skills and critical thinking skills.

News Headline
Before and After
ABC Summary
Concept Maps
Claim Evidence Reasoning
Let me know how you’re using them in your classroom!

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Formative Assessments for STEM: Claim Evidence Reasoning

Claim Evidence Reasoning is a formative assessment that ensures that students are thinking purposefully about the concepts they are learning and the conclusions they are drawing.

Using this structure, students are asked to make a claim based on an investigation conducted in class, provide evidence, tell how that evidence supports their claim and draw a conclusion.  By requiring that students progress through these steps, they learn how to better develop their critical thinking skills.

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Formative Assessments for STEM: RERUN

RERUN is a formative assessment that allows students to share their thoughts and perspectives in regards to a investigation that they have completed.

RERUN is an acronym that stands for: Recall, Explain, Results, Unsure, New Things and asks students to provide a response for each category in the chart.  This formative assessment also helps the teacher to determine how well students learned the learning goals that were presented in the investigation.

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Formative Assessments for STEM: Concept Maps

Concepts Maps are a great way for students to visualize how ideas relate to each other and also allow them to draw on background knowledge.

When using concept maps, students being with one central theme or concept and work to link it to other related concepts.  For older students, concept maps should be second nature, but younger students may struggle.  For students who struggle, consider providing all of concepts, each written on a card and allow students to arrange them correctly.

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Formative Assessments for STEM: ABC Summary

ABC Summary is a broad formative assessment that asks students to illustrate a key concept that they are learning.  This formative assessment aims to activate thinking and to promote creativity.

With this flexible formative assessment, students can either choose their own letters and terms or the teacher can assign them.  Students then think of a concept that begins with that letter and sketch the concept that they picked.  This formative assessment can be easily modified as older students can write a couple of sentences about the term that they chose.

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