The science laboratory is a highly managaged environment that often relies heavily on the transmition of knowledge by the teacher not the construction of concepts and processes by the student. Inquiry-based laboratory programs and activities are a direct challenge to this teacher centered pedagogy. One area that is in keeping with Inquiry and has had little attention in the literature is how students build confidence in their numerical and observational data. Using the Hunter college introductory chemistry lab program as an example, I will discuss how students can construct and use non-statistical tools to evaluate their data while in the laboratory. Million dollar data, as the title of this talk mentions, represents a level of confidence that students aspire to. Raising the bar means that students must analyze their data and explicitly think about how they can convincingly argue about the value of their lab work.
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Back to The 37th Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (May 22-25, 2005)