Timed Observations

Students observe the behavior of a group of animals and use a sample protocol to quantify what they see. Many people think of math as calculations. But numbers are just another way of visualizing and modeling things we observe. The more that students are exposed to math as a tool for visualization and problem solving, the more they will be able to creatively employ it in their own learning. Conducting timed behavioral observations of animals is one way of using numbers to help us learn about an organism. This turns general observations into more precise data that can be used for deeper analysis and understanding of the animal. Quantitative data on animals’ behavior offers a window into patterns that we otherwise might not be able to see. Making timed observations at intervals is also a strategy students can use in other settings to gather numerical data.
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