Strategies and Teaching Tips for Creating Activities in Tuva

Creating your own activity for a Tuva dataset? This article offers some ideas and strategies to help you focus your activity on the kind of learning you want to elicit.


Activities can be anywhere on the spectrum from strongly guided (e.g. give instructions for how to create or analyze a specific graph) to fully open-ended (e.g. provide a situation or question and ask students to decide how to use the data to develop evidence that supports their response). 


Consider activity length for your grade level. We’ve found that 10 steps is a reasonable upper limit; many activities for middle and high school fall somewhere between 5 and 10 steps. Elementary activities can be shorter. Open-ended activities, where students decide how to analyze the data, are often just a few steps. 


Consider what kind of thinking you want students to exercise in the activity.


Here are some ideas to elicit different kinds of scientific reasoning or data skills: 

Can students read information correctly from their graph? (usually one factual answer)

  • Which month had the highest river flow?
  • Which energy source provides the most energy?
  • Which year was the driest?

Prompt students to think about the context of the data. (Questions could be factual or open-ended)

  • Which cities are included in the dataset? (factual)
  • What is one way this dataset relates to you? (open-ended)
  • What is one reason researchers may have wanted to collect this data?

Do students recognize questions that the dataset can (or cannot) answer? What questions can students come up with that the data can answer? (multiple choice or open-ended)

  • Which of the following questions can (or cannot) be answered with this dataset? (multiple choice)
  • Write a question that can be answered with this dataset. (open-ended).
  • Write a question that cannot be answered with this dataset. (open-ended).

Ask students to make a decision about how to graph or analyze the data.

  • Graph the data to describe the relationship between [pressure and volume]. (Submit graph)
  • Create a graph that supports or refutes the following claim:... (Submit graph)
  • Annotate your graph to highlight the evidence that supports… (Submit graph)

Can students describe their graph in words? (kind of graph, what is on the axes, patterns in the data…)

  • Describe the graph you made to someone who can’t see it. (open-ended)
  • Describe a pattern in the data that you think is important. (open-ended)

Invite students to make or evaluate an interpretation or claim. 

  • What claim can you make based on your graph? (open-ended)
  • Which of the following claims are/are not supported by the graph? (multiple choice)
  • What does the graph suggest in answer to the original question?

How do students weigh uncertainty in the data, graph, or claim?

  • How sure can you be? (please explain)
  • What factors could contribute to uncertainty in your claim?
  • What other information could help you be more certain?

Ask students to reflect on wider implications of the data or graph.

  • What are some wider implications of what you found?
  • What does your result mean for…?
  • What new questions does your analysis raise?


Sentence starters are another way to elicit thinking:

  1. This graph shows …
  2. A pattern I notice in the graph is …
  3. An anomaly/outlier/different pattern in the graph is …
  4. A difference between … and …. is …
  5. A similarity between … and … is
  6. If this pattern continued, I predict …
  7. A probable reason for that pattern is …
  8. A probable reason for this difference is …
  9. When I first looked at this graph …
  10. The data/pattern/feature of the graph that most stood out to me was …
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