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Materials, Measurement, and Error: Comparative Class Data and Scientific Argumentation via a Cloud-based Application

  • Scott A. Sinex (a1), Theodore L. Chambers (a1) and Joshua B. Halpern (a2)

The Next Generation Science Standards make scientific discourse a vital part of the classroom and arguing with evidence needs to become a common practice for students. Analysis and interpretation of data are an integral part as well. We present an approach using 21st-century technology combined with collection of laboratory data that is suitable for middle school through college. In an experiment using common nuts and bolts first semester chemistry students form six groups and determine a bolt mass indirectly. They collect mass data; then enter the data into an online form that compiles the data into a spreadsheet in Google Drive, a free cloud-based application. Once all the groups have submitted their data, they access the spreadsheet online and start an emulated online discussion in the laboratory as if the groups were globally dispersed using the chat feature available in Google Drive. Each group is identified by a group number having a unique group email address so there is a semi-anonymous sense among the members that allows for a fairly free discussion among students.

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1. National Research Council (NRC). A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012), (accessed January 2014).
2. Next Generation Science Standards , (accessed January 2014)
3. 21st Century Skills and the Workplace: A 2013 Microsoft Partners in Learning and Pearson Foundation Study , (accessed January 2014).
4. Sinex, S.A. and Chambers, T.L., J. Chem. Educ. 90(9) 12441246 (2013).
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6. Sinex, S.A., Chambers, T.L., and Halpern, J.B., Spreadsheets in Education 6 (1) Article 5 (2012).
7. Osborne, J., Science 328 463466 (2010).
8. Benedis-Grab, G., Science and Children 48(8) 4246 (2011).
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MRS Online Proceedings Library (OPL)
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1946-4274
  • URL: /core/journals/mrs-online-proceedings-library-archive
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