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Title: Opening the Black Box: Investigating Student Understanding of Data Displays Using Programmable Sensor Technology
This paper describes the design and classroom implementation of a week-long unit that aims to integrate computational thinking (CT) into middle school science classes using programmable sensor technology. The goals of this sensor immersion unit are to help students understand why and how to use sensor and visualization technology as a powerful data-driven tool for scientific inquiry in ways that align with modern scientific practice. The sensor immersion unit is anchored in the investigation of classroom data where students engage with the sensor technology to ask questions about and design displays of the collected data. Students first generate questions about how data data displays work and then proceed through a set of programming exercises to help them understand how to collect and display data collected from their classrooms by building their own mini data displays. Throughout the unit students draw and update their hand drawn models representing their current understanding of how the data displays work. The sensor immersion unit was implemented by ten middle school science teachers during the 2019/2020 school year. Student drawn models of the classroom data displays from four of these teachers were analyzed to examine students’ understandings in four areas: func- tion of sensor components, process models of data flow, design of data displays, and control of the display. Students showed the best understanding when describing sensor components. Students exhibited greater confusion when describing the process of how data streams moved through displays and how programming controlled the data displays.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1742053 1742046
NSF-PAR ID:
10291753
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
International Computing Education Research
Page Range / eLocation ID:
291 to 301
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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