Let’s talk about data!

Posted: 4th Jan 2017

Data Sample Page Montage

Let’s talk about data was first conceived in response to the perpetual problem faced by many science teachers and leaders that we met. How to develop the skills needed for accurate and informative data handling.

So often, data handling is taught as an aside to the very important process of developing science enquiry skills, but that leads to a problem. How do you plan a suitable progression through the development of data handling when it isn’t the main focus of a lesson?

This often leads to a patchy development of the skills with different teachers picking up on different aspects in a well meaning, often well delivered, but haphazard way. There is no clear map of how the skills are developed and built upon.

What we needed was a reliable route through the skills, emphasising the importance of the enquiry process at each stage but focusing on the data and how to deal with it. As well as that, wouldn’t it be great if we picked up on the strategies used in Millgate House’s Active Assessment materials to embed formative assessment into each aspect.

And that’s how the idea for this publication was born! A comprehensive resource focused in science enquiry but focused on data handling, with formative assessment at its heart. That ticks a lot of boxes.

We needed to make the activities feel real and relevant rather than isolated and clinical so there is a narrative about what the students have been doing, how it fits in with their classes work and what their teacher wants from them. Miss Happ and Mr. Meanour lead you though a series of activities, often in the form of games or problem solving tasks to help your students develop their skills in fun and interesting ways. The focus is on discussion and teamwork, while the resources promote active teaching and learning strategies that get students working together without lots of written work (and marking!).
Set out in four chapters with more than 20 different skills, the book covers all the major themes you would expect, including planning, recording, analysing and concluding. There is also a rationale for each section, assessment, follow up, consolidation and extension activities. We even explore the vexed questions of lines of best fit only ever being straight in ‘another subject’. We all know which subject we are talking about don’t we!

Based around familiar enquiries you will have often used, we like to think the resource is accessible, friendly and helpful in providing a planned approach to a difficult area. With an increased focus at KS4 on required practical activities, mathematics skills and the enquiry process there has never been a better time for this type of resource. Aimed at KS3 but with plenty of opportunities to use with older students we hope you will find this an invaluable tool for supporting you to support your students.