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Trends in Teaching Experimentation in the Life Sciences pp 143–170 Cite as

A Framework for Teaching and Learning Graphing in Undergraduate Biology

  • Stephanie M. Gardner 21 ,
  • Aakanksha Angra 22 , 23 &
  • Joseph A. Harsh 24  
  • First Online: 12 May 2022

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Part of the Contributions from Biology Education Research book series (CBER)

Graphing is a scientific practice that is integral throughout the process of inquiry and experimentation. It involves making graphs to explore patterns in data and communicate findings to others and reading graphs to understand and make claims about data. Graphing involves the integration of concepts and practices from diverse fields including mathematics and statistics, cognitive science, and the discipline in which the data were gathered. In biology, the disciplinary concepts and practices include methods of inquiry (measurements, instrumentation) and the features of the biological system under study. In addition, biology and subdisciplines within biology have community-established norms and expectations which affect graphing and graphs. Here we present a framework for teaching graphing as part of authentic practice in undergraduate biology and use two case studies to illustrate what this approach to teaching graphing could look like in practice. General recommendations for teaching and assessing graphing in biology are provided.

  • Data analysis
  • Cognitive apprenticeship
  • Authentic assessment

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Acknowledgements

This work benefited from the research on graph construction in undergraduate biology conducted under NSF # 1726180 (SMG) and the collaborations and opportunities within the ACE-Bio Network (NSF # 1346567). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF. We are grateful to Julia Gouvea for her helpful feedback on this chapter. Many thanks to the members of the Purdue International Biology Education Research Group (PIBERG) and the James Madison University Biology Education Research Group (jmuBERG) for their valuable feedback and assistance over the years. In addition, we would like to acknowledge Adam Maltese and Mikaela Schmitt-Harsh for their significant contributions to multiple projects included here. We are also grateful to the students and faculty who contributed their time to our respective work.

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All authors contributed equally to: Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing, Visualization. SMG contributed to : Supervision.

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Gardner, S.M., Angra, A., Harsh, J.A. (2022). A Framework for Teaching and Learning Graphing in Undergraduate Biology. In: Pelaez, N.J., Gardner, S.M., Anderson, T.R. (eds) Trends in Teaching Experimentation in the Life Sciences. Contributions from Biology Education Research. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-98592-9_8

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biology graphing assignments

Graphing Practice for Secondary Science

Graphing-practice-high-school

At the beginning of the year, it’s good to review graphing and make your expectations clear on what you expect when students turn in a graph.

  • Clearly labeled X and Y axes?
  • Proper scale?
  • Nearly drawn bars?

If you teach physical science, this is pretty critical.

Here is a round-up of graphing resources you can use with students:

biology graphing assignments

1. Graphing Poster: A great way to reinforce your graphing expectations is to have them visible for students. This graphing checklist can be placed in student binders or hung on the wall for students to reference when they work on a graph.

2. Turner’s Graph of the Week: This stellar website has a weekly graphing worksheet that is sure to engage students. Graphing topics are timely, relevant, and engaging.

3. Graphing stories: This website has video clips students watch, analyze, and create a graph from. (Most are motion related, so this is a great site for physical science teachers).

4. Smart Graphs: This digital activity has students read through a scenario and decide which is the best type of graph to represent events in the story.

5. ACS: Here are a series of graphing activities from American Chemical Society.

graphing-stations

6. Graphing Stations: This station activity has 8 stations students rotate through that all relate to graphing. Activities include identifying which type of graph to use, creating titles for graphs, watching a video clip, and arranging a jigsaw puzzle.

7. Graphing Analysis: Here is a freebie on TpT from Amy Brown Science.

8. What’s going on in this graph? In this series from the New York Times, students check out graphs that are published weekly. Ask your students- what do you notice? What do you wonder? What’s going on?

9. Create a Graph: Want students to practice creating their own graphs digitally? If you don’t think your students are ready to tackle Excel, try out this user friendly website .

10. How to Spot a Misleading Graph: This TEd-Ex video shows students how graphs can mislead viewers. It brings up great discussion points!

I hope you find those useful!

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  6. PDF Using Graphing Skills

    Pre-AP Biology Summer Assignment: Part 2 (65 points) Ok, so you now know how to graph after having completed the prior assignment (hopefully you knew how to before the assignment also). Now you are going to go out and use this new found skill of yours.

  7. PDF AP Biology Summer Homework 2021 Hi All! I'm so excited to welcome you

    Appropriate type of graph and legend (if applicable)--You should know when to use a bar graph vs a line graph (connecting dots) vs a scatterplot. They all have different purposes to show different types of data. *Your line graphs shouldn'tconnect to (0,0) unless that is an actual data point! Resources: Bozeman Science Guide to Graphing

  8. PDF Welcome to AP Biology!

    Welcome to AP Biology! Congratulations on getting into AP Biology! ... These assignments cover Unit 1 of the course: Introduction and the Chemistry of Life. This unit encompasses the first 3 chapters of the text, Campbell Biology in ... In this case it involves constructing a graph and drawing conclusions based on the graph and on your ...

  9. Graphing Practice

    Graphing Practice. Introduction. Graphing is an important procedure used by scientists to display the data that is collected during a controlled experiment. Line graphs must be constructed correctly to accurately portray the data collected. Many times the wrong construction of a graph detracts from the acceptance of an individual's hypothesis.

  10. A Framework for Teaching and Learning Graphing in Undergraduate Biology

    Abstract. Graphing is a scientific practice that is integral throughout the process of inquiry and experimentation. It involves making graphs to explore patterns in data and communicate findings to others and reading graphs to understand and make claims about data. Graphing involves the integration of concepts and practices from diverse fields ...

  11. Graphing

    How to Graph. Determine the manipulated and responding variables. In an experiment the experimenter will set up a set of conditions, it may be a range of temperatures or pH values, or, more common, the experimenter may choose to observe the experiment proceeding at set intervals of time (seconds, days or even years).

  12. Practice Making Line Graphs

    Plot the data points and then draw a line graph in "connect-the-dot" fashion. Ethylene is a plant hormone that causes fruit to mature. The data above concerns the amount of time it takes for fruit to mature from the time of the first application of ethylene by spraying a field of trees. Make a line graph of the data.

  13. Graphing Practice for Secondary Science

    3. Graphing stories: This website has video clips students watch, analyze, and create a graph from. (Most are motion related, so this is a great site for physical science teachers). 4. Smart Graphs: This digital activity has students read through a scenario and decide which is the best type of graph to represent events in the story. 5. ACS: Here are a series of graphing activities from ...

  14. Graphing Practice

    Graph # 1 shows that she started off slow but then sped up when she saw she was gonna be late. 2c. Studying takes the least amount of time because it only takes up 4% of their day. 2d. The only activity that takes up 25% of the day is school. 2e. The two activities that take up 50% of the day are talking on the telephone (17%) and sleeping (33% ...

  15. Biology Graphing Practice Worksheets & Teaching Resources

    This biology graphing set contains differentiated graph interpretation exercises teachers can use throughout the year! ... they can be used as in class exercises, Homework assignments, extra credit assignments or substitute lesson plans. Each of these graphing lessons and test prep bundles. Subjects: Biology, General Science, Science. Grades: 6 ...

  16. Excel Graphing Assignment

    Excel Graphing Assignment. Course. General Biology (BIOL 1009) 181 Documents. Students shared 181 documents in this course. University University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. ... Exam #1 Review - General Biology (BIOL 1009) for Professor Sue Gibson at the University of Minnesota. General Biology 100% (2) Students also viewed.

  17. Biology Class Notes

    Classification of Seed Plants. Structure & Function of Seed Plants. Leaf Cross section. Leaf Coloring worksheet. Reproduction of seed Plants. Flower Coloring Worksheet Flowering Plants Online. Introduction to Animals. General Notes on Animals Animal Symmetry Worksheet. Introduction to Animals Worksheet.

  18. Ecology Teaching Resources

    Build an Ecosystem - use bags, water BTB, oxygen data. Investigating Algae Blooms - analyze and color a map showing regions of algae blooms, determine causes. Succession in an Ecosystem - graphic shows how species are replaced as a pond dries up. Create a Biome Concept Map - research biomes to create graphic organizer.

  19. Mastering Biology Graphing: A Comprehensive Answer Key to the Practice

    The Biology Graphing Practice Packet is designed to help students practice interpreting and creating different types of graphs commonly used in biological studies. The packet includes a variety of graphs, such as bar graphs, line graphs, scatterplots, and histograms. Each graph is accompanied by a set of questions that require students to ...

  20. PDF AP Biology Summer Assignment Packet 2018-1029 Summer ...

    #4 Graphing & Data Skills Assignment (Pgs 4-12) Complete the data analysis packet attached and have it ready to turn in on the first day of class. The new AP Biology curriculum stresses the importance of being able to analyze and graph data. So we will begin with data analysis graphing and statistical analysis that we will use throughout the year.

  21. Graphing with Excel

    Histogram. Select your data and click insert > Insert Statistic Chart > Histogram. To adjust the spacing of the histogram bins (the amount of data grouped along the X-axis), right click on the horizontal axis on the chart, click Format Axis and then Axis Options. On the side bar, you can adjust the x-axis groupings by changing either the "bin ...

  22. The Biology Corner

    Muscle Anatomy and Coloring. My Coloring Book - Animals of North America. Case Study - The Genetics of Eye Color. Spooky Science - Data Analysis on Fear and Disgust. Resources for biology students that include worksheets, labs, and student activities. Find everything you need for your biology lessons here!!

  23. 1108L-EF lab assignment

    BIOL 1108L Week 10 Data Graphing Assignment: Experiment Figures. You and your partner/s will work together on this assignment and only need to submit one file per group. Rename this file: 1108L-EF-AllLastNames. Phase 1: Planning Complete the questions below before you begin to graph your data.