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Biology Students Analyze Raw Data with University Researcher

Biology students recently had the opportunity to meet over Zoom with Dr. April Blakeslee, assistant professor of biology at East Carolina University, who helped students analyze raw data sets to calculate the biodiversity index from 64 different sites over a six month period. "Sharing the research process and the opportunity to analyze complex data engages students and allows for opportunities to make connections beyond the textbook," says Science Teacher Mrs. Cynthia Blakeslee
Students were able to discuss the results of this research with Dr. Blakeslee, who shared that these results were in the rewrite stage of publication. “She showed us how the data would be summarized into figures just like the ones we created together as a class. The students were also given the opportunity to ask follow up questions about research and the journey to becoming a research professor. The entire process was eye opening to the students,” adds Mrs. Blakeslee.

At the end of the experience, students:
  • Learned how to process large amounts of complex data
  • Realized the need for large amounts of data
  • Practiced graphing with error bars and applying the meaning to real context
  • Discovered the need for using indicators to measure things we can’t see or that are hard to measure
  • Developed an appreciation for the process of science, including the effort to collect the data
  • Developed a desire to communicate and educate others about their conclusion 
  • Experienced the excitement of doing research 

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