Processing Investigations – analysing and concluding Level 2



Watch what teachers say about developing literacy and numeracy through MyScience.

After tables and graphs have been constructed, students need to analyse data to identify patterns or trends. This can be scaffolded by working with data (preferably first hand data collected by students) as a whole class. An important part of this process is the critical analysis of the data.

Students need to go back to their original hypothesis and prediction and compare the actual data to the prediction. An issue that may arise is that there is no clear pattern or trend in the data, or that there are contradictory data that does not support the major pattern. There is also the question of whether the amount of difference observed is sufficient for the result to be statistically significant — though this is often not an issue emphasised with most primary school science investigations. An example might be as follows:

Most students in the group have improved their beep test results after drinking a sport drink, but some have actually recorded worse results. A problem could be that the sample size of the data is too small. Maybe a small number of worse performing students have skewed the data. This investigation needs to be completed with several classes in each grade and the results then averaged before analysis.

SunSmart Millionaire has an excellent section on replication and repetition necessary for reliable data. ‘The Lab’ from this resource also contains information about accuracy, reliability and validity of data from investigations.