Sunday, July 25, 2010

MicroPoll - Web Polls Made Easy

Yesterday, I gave a run-down of nine survey tools that teachers and students can use. Today, I came across another survey tool that should be added to that list. MicroPoll makes it very easy to create a poll, customize it, and embed it into your blog or website. To use MicroPoll just enter your question, enter answer choices, and enter your email address. After completing those first three steps you can preview your poll, change the theme (look) of your poll, and get the embed code for your poll.

Applications for Education
Conducting surveys is a good way for students and teachers to collect data that can then be used for lessons on fractions and percentages. I remember in elementary school my class surveyed the school about breakfast cereal preferences then we had to create pie charts and other data displays using the survey results.

Mapped Bird Migration Patterns & Habitat Ranges

Project FeederWatch is a project administered by the Cornell Ornithology Lab and Bird Studies Canada. Project FeederWatch collects data from backyard bird observers across the United States and Canada. The data is used for a variety of purposes including providing the public with information about the birds that can be found in their areas at various times during the year. The Project FeederWatch map room allows you to select a species and see its migration pattern mapped over the course of a year. There are data sets available for the current year as well as past years.

eBird is a website run by the Cornell Ornithology Lab that provides more maps, graphs, and charts along the same lines as those found on Project FeederWatch. eBird has maps of the global distribution of birds (Project FeederWatch is limited to North America) and charts of seasonal distributions of birds. eBird also has a bird tracker map set-up just for birds affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Applications for Education
Project FeederWatch and eBird are both good examples of using maps to display data. Placing the data sets on maps gives students a visual reference that means more than simply studying a list of which birds appear in which states.

Teachers could use the migration information available from Project FeederWatch and eBird to develop a simple lesson in statistical analysis and predictions. You could have students look at the migration data for a bird that appears in their area and try to predict when the first one of those birds will be spotted outside of your classroom windows.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
See Animal Ranges on Encyclopedia of Life Maps

Teacher Linx- Create and Share Lesson Plans
Science Netlinks - Dozens of Science Lessons