Oct 5, 2012

Using Google Spreadsheets to Collect Class Data In Science Class


Science teachers often need to compile data from many groups over many trials in order for the whole class to visualize their data.  This comparison can lead to in depth conversations about sources of error and best lab practices.  But collecting all of that data is a pain!  It takes too much instructional time to have each student write in their data on a single class-wide data sheet.


 A shared Google spreadsheet allows each student to type their data into a class-wide data sheet at the same time.  This sheet can be shared over multiple classes, as well, allowing students to see data from hundreds of students instead of dozens.  Students can use the same sheet to comment on each others work, and chat in real time about their data.

How We Did It:

Mrs. Klokkenga and Mr. Weber at NCWHS conduct a lab in which their classes travel to a local lake and take water samples.  Each class is separated into six groups, each focusing on a different aspect of water testing.  They record data in the field and bring that back to share with the class the following day.  We set up a Google spreadsheet (click image for larger view) that contained space for all of the groups data from each class.  The spreadsheet was then shared to every student in each of the three classes.  When students logged in to Google Drive, they opened the spreadsheet from their "Shared with me" folder.  Every student in class (and even students from the other class) could be in the spreadsheet at the same time filling in their groups data.  Each student could see each others work in real time!  This shortened a process that normally could take an entire class period down to an activity that could be completed in only a few minutes.  That left time for more meaningful discussion about the data.  Not to mention that the students could now compare their data with the two other classes who also did water testing!  Check out the video below to see these features in action.

In the video below, take note of the following things...

  • Multiple classes are present in the sheet

  • Multiple students are viewing and editing the document at the same time (right side)

  • A chat is occurring between students and the teacher


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