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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
- 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
- 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