Using Data Nuggets in Your Classroom

Students working on a Data Nugget activity.

Data Nuggets give students practice interpreting quantitative information and making claims based on evidence. In each activity, students construct graphs to facilitate data interpretation, and are challenged to construct explanations based on evidence. Data Nuggets have the potential to improve the understanding of science in society and help train and motivate the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Each activity provides a brief background on a scientist, their study system, and their research process. The reading component gives students practice reading and interpreting scientific text. This section of the Data Nugget provides students with relevant background knowledge on a scientific topic and the process of the researcher who developed the experiment. It is written in story form to capture the attention of students and engage them beyond the conclusions of a study to become aware of the process of science and the researcher behind the ideas and data. Readers find stories more engaging, easier to comprehend, and more memorable than descriptive, expository writing. Stories are “sticky” because they appeal to our desire for causality and goals, and the reasoning behind an idea increases reader interest.

When using Data Nuggets, students participate in science as an active process and discover how the practice of science can be used to learn about the natural world. The practice of science involves asking questions about the natural world, forming testable hypotheses to address these questions, and evaluating hypotheses using evidence. Students learn best when engaged in exploration instead of lecture and memorization, and their trust in science correlates with an understanding of the methods used to refute and support theories. Active learning allows students to engage in the practice of science, increasing their interest and success in this field.  

Data Nuggets help teachers integrate since and math curriculum changes into their classroom. Data Nuggets are aligned with The Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core, Vision and Change, and ACT College Readiness Standards. Data Nuggets reinforce science and quantitative skills and concepts repeatedly throughout the school year and across grade levels. The basic Data Nugget template addresses all parts of the scientific process while covering core content. Click here to see how. We have also included a grading rubric for each activity.

For further ideas on how to use Data Nuggets in your classroom, follow the links below: