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tutorials
WOW Teaching
Tutorial
Navigating the
WOW website
Using WOW Data
with Excel
Using WOW
Visualization Tools
 
 
  Water on the Web Tutorial
 

Credits
Christel Rowe developed this lesson.

Goals
After completing this introductory tutorial, students will be able to find, retrieve, and work with data from the WOW website.

Introduction
Water on the Web offers several unique opportunities for students learning science. This project allows students to learn and apply basic science concepts through the use of real water quality data. Quantitative analysis and the ability to use and manipulate numbers to understand the world are essential parts of doing science. The WOW project provides numerical data on several water quality parameters through remotely controlled sampling devices. Remote Underwater Sampling Stations (RUSS units) have been placed in several Minnesota lakes. RUSS technology allows us to sample water quality indicators at specified depths from the surface to the bottom of the lakes. Numerical data is provided in tables and Excel spreadsheets where it can be accessed and manipulated by students. Data visualization tools and water quality resource information is also available at the WOW website so students can more easily understand and interpret the data that is provided.

Students can meet the goals for this lesson by completing a directed study lesson that is designed as three related tutorials: "Navigating the WOW Website Tutorial;" "Using WOW Data with Excel Tutorial;" and "Using WOW Data Visualization Tools Tutorial." (In the student section of WOW, links to these tutorials can be found under the "Studying" menu.) Students will be guided through the WOW website by a series of directions and questions.

Outcomes
Students will:

  1. Identify the major categories of resources in the WOW website
  2. Manipulate and graph data using Excel
  3. Use data visualization tools to understand changes in water quality parameters.
  4. Use data visualization tools to create hypotheses about the dynamics of water quality parameters.

Keywords
Spreadsheet, Excel, Data Visualization

Prerequisites
Basic skills in using a web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer are required. Prior experience using spreadsheet software is recommended.

Materials/Resources/Software
Review the software recommended for optimal use of this website. If students only have access to a basic web browser, they can only complete the first of the tutorials: "Navigating the WOW Website Tutorial."

Students with more recent versions of browsers that can use Java can also complete the third tutorial: "Using WOW Data Visualization Tools Tutorial." (PCs using recent [as of September, 1999] internet browsers, such as Internet Explorer 4.x or higher, or Netscape 4.06, will be able to use the tools. Macs have to use Internet Explorer with the Mac OS Runtime for Java [MRJ] 2.1 plug-in added.)

To complete the second tutorial - "Using WOW Data with Excel Tutorial," — students need access to the spreadsheet program, Excel. The tutorial works best if Excel is used as a plug-in in the browser. If you have the Flash plug-in you can use this animated tutorial to guide students through the use of Excel with WOW.

Time Required
Students should be able to complete all three tutorials within two 50-minute class periods.

WOW Curriculum Links
These tutorials prepare students with the basic WOW website skills needed to complete all other WOW lessons.

Procedure
All other WOW curriculum lessons follow a sequenced format of steps in the following order: Knowledge Base, Experimental Design, Data Collection, Data Management & Analysis, Interpretation of Data, Reporting Results. As an introductory tutorial for WOW, this lesson does not follow that format. Instead, students are provided specific directions and questions in each tutorial. This guides students in their exploration of the WOW website as a resource for learning about water quality and Minnesota lakes.

Begin by reminding students that the "Back" button on their browser will be particularly useful if they find they have lost track of where they are in the website.

We recommend that all students begin by completing the first tutorial: "Navigating the WOW Website Tutorial." Students have to successfully complete steps 1-4 of the tutorial in order to be able to answer the questions A-Q in step 5. If students are going to work in pairs on a computer, you might recommend they take turns using the keyboard so that both will learn how to navigate through the site.

The second tutorial, "Using WOW Data with Excel Tutorial," guides students in graphing data from the Excel data spreadsheets. The weekly Excel spreadsheets are provided in an Excel workbook. The workbook also includes two templates for helping students create graphs. To complete this tutorial students will work back and forth between the data tables and the templates.

The third tutorial, "Using WOW Data Visualization Tools Tutorial," introduces students to the WOW tools that will help them "see" changes in the data. The tools currently available through WOW are the Profile Plotter and the Color Mapper. This tutorial will require the least time of any of the three tutorials.

When students are done with their tutorials they should turn in their work.


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date last updated: Wednesday March 03 2004