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Nine Resources for Building Research Skills With Data Collection and Observation

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Credit: Aaron Kozloff

Humans significantly impact the life cycle, and there are many opportunities in learning to encourage students to explore their individual impact. In collaboration with classroom teachers, teacher librarians can help students explore and improve their interaction with the natural world by strengthening research skills. Systematic approaches to ecology issues can be applied to multiple subjects. Bring the circle of life into your classroom this Fall with these ideas for using public media resources to integrate data collection and analysis in ecology projects.

Sci Girls: Underwater Eco-Adventure | Video Collection
The series, Sci Girls, features an underwater eco-adventure illustrating the steps involved in doing research. Check out this short video and explore reefs with a marine biologist. The second video focuses on planning; the science girls choose indicator species to count as they compare the health of two reefs. The third video highlights data collection and observation methods.  The last video illustrates how data can be visualized to facilitate data analysis.

Sci Girls: Sink or Swim | Video and Activity
This activity, presented by SciGirls, teaches students how to investigate the properties of different types of plastics. It addresses how plastics are marked, and which ones recycling centers accept.

Tracking Your Own Footprints: Digital Tools to Inspire Conservation | Article
This IdeaStream article highlights how one data collecting tool is changing the way students at a school in Ohio understand resource consumption.

Becoming Green Energy Experts | Video
This Michigan State University/Lansing Boys and Girls Club partnership demonstrates the powerful results of giving youth the science background and tools they need to carry out investigations of their own design, and to communicate their knowledge in their own voice.


Toward Greener Biofuels and Greener Cars | Article
Fuel a car with a corn cob? This article gives insightful data about alternative car power. Students calculate the energy consumption of different fuel sources to drive a car.

KQED’s Quest website offers science stories that connect students to the  world around them and offers ways to address ecological issues.

About the Author

Dr. Leslie Farmer, a Professor at California State University Long Beach, coordinates the Librarianship program. A frequent presenter and author of 30 books for the profession, she won American Library Association’s 2011 Phi Beta Mu Award for library education. Dr. Farmer is also the President of the California School Libraries Foundation. This post is made possible through a collaboration with the California School Library Association.

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