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A major problem for science teachers is explaining abstract concepts to children. And to make matters more tricky, many experiments involve imperceptible changes in, say, colour, temperature, voltage or speed when investigated using traditional methods. Which is where data-logging comes in - the use of computers with sensors to observe and measure experiment changes, produce graphs and tables and analyse results.
Electronic equipment to collect experiment data has been around for a long time but has a poor reputation for accuracy, reliability and flexibility. And given the diversity of data-logging equipment and computers in schools, the potential for frustration is high. But practical help is at hand with Roger Frost's Data Logging in Practice.
Aimed at the 11 to 18 age range, the book provides a range of development activities for science staff aimed at exploring the potential of data-logging activities and improving student learning. Many of the suggested experiments in physics, biology and chemistry will be familiar to teachers, but the use of technology enables more extensive collection of data, so providing a wealth of data for analysis and more opportunity for real investigation, which in turn will push students.
Frost's advice is practical and understandable and he has a wealth of ideas for the application of data-logging, including sample worksheets which carry a licence to photocopy.
The book is backed up by an excellent website at www.rogerfrost.com, which provides the latest information on equipment and comments on its usefulness. The site also includes notes from users on equipment they have used and experiments they have carried out with it. All of which makes Data Logging in Practice an excellent resource that all science teachers will find useful.