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# Lamont-Doherty Geoscience Data Puzzles

## Attributes of a Data Puzzle

• Authentic Data: Each Puzzle uses authentic data from the Earth's lithosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere.
• Selected Data:  The data are carefully selected in order to illuminate a fundamental Earth process, a process that is typically taught in 8th/9th grade Earth Science classes across the country, and is included in the New Jersey and/or New York core curriculum.
• Not overwhelming: The amount of data is small enough to be non-intimidating, for both teacher and student, in support of teachers like the one who wrote, "I've tried to use data from the web before, but I was overwhelmed" (http://www.vims.edu/bridge/data2.html).
• Guiding questions: A half dozen or so questions guide the student through the process of interpreting the data.
• Compact: Data and guiding questions together fit on two sides of a sheet of paper or on one web page. Again, this is intended to reduce the intimidation factor.
• Time-efficient: The time needed to solve a Puzzle is between 15 minutes and an hour.
• Varied data types: Data may be in the form of a graph, table, map, image or combination of the above. Some Puzzles involve downloading a simple Excel file, but most can be worked from paper copies.
• Quantitative component: Most Puzzles involve a calculation, at the level of arithmetic, averages, or simple geometry. The emphasis is not on complicated math, but rather on the too-seldom-taught skill of figuring out what math process is useful to answer an unfamiliar question or solve an unfamiliar problem.
• The "Aha" Insight: Every Puzzle offers one or more "Aha" insights, a moment when the connection between data and process or data and problem comes clear in a rewarding burst of insight and illumination.
• Pedagogical Content Knowledge: Every Puzzle is accompanied by a rich Pedagogical Content Knowledge document. Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) is knowledge of how to teach something, as opposed to knowledge of the content itself.

Last updated February 25, 2011