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Data Analysis

April 7th 2015

The following is an explanation and analysis of a pre-test given March 30 th to 18 students


in my kindergarten class at Teasley Primary. The pre-test was given prior to our
beginning a study of the similarities and differences in plants. Identifying how plants are
similar and different is one of the science standards for kindergarten.
The test was given by myself and Mrs. Drohan, our paraprofessional. The test was
administered individually. Students were asked to point to 2 plants that they would like
to talk about. There were 3 plants to choose from. The plants were a split leaf
philodendron (part of our classroom from the beginning of the year), an impatient in
bloom (new to our room) and 2 carrots that included the leafy green parts (pulled from
our classroom garden). These plants were chosen as there was good variance in size,
shape and color. Students were asked to respond verbally to the prompts What are 2
ways that these plants are different? and What are 2 ways that these plants are the
same? The students had prior experience with comparing in math etcso they were
familiar with the terms same and different.
The results of the pre-test are shown on the table below. There were a total of 36
responses for both the same and different categories.

Number of correct
responses
Number of incorrect
responses

How are the plants the


same?
30

How are the plants


different?
22

14

While the numbers clearly showed that the students have some grasp of the similarities
and differences in plants, there was definitely a need for better understanding. Writing
down the exact words of the students helped me to understand their thinking. After
reading over the responses I saw that while my students may know some things about
how plants are alike and different they lacked the understanding of what plant means
and the vocabulary necessary to express their thoughts about how they are alike and
different. I decided to focus my instruction on the 3 areas. What is a plant? How are
plants alike and different? Where do I find plants? Interwoven into all 3 areas is
teaching the vocabulary students will need to express their knowledge about similarities
and differences. In order to best meet the needs of my students the learning styles of
auditory, visual, tactile and kinesthetic were incorporated into planning.
When planning instruction the verbatim responses of the students were just as, if not
more so, valuable than the numbers. Responses such as, one(plant) grows carrots led

me to begin our study with defining what is and what is not a plant. The students need
to understand what plant means, what a plant is - where a plant begins and ends so to
speak. They need to understand that a carrot is part of the plant itself. After the
students understand the basic definition of a plant the focus of learning and instruction
will turn to the parts of a plant. Knowing the parts of a plant will help students not only
understand what a plant is but also give them the vocabulary they need to verbalize
what they know. For example, The big plant has lines on the leaves showed me that
my students did not know the term veins or understand that veins are a part of the
plant. In response to the prompt How are the plants the same? about 25% of the
students responded They are both plants. Knowing the parts of a plant will broaden
the students vocabulary so that they will be able to give a more specific response.
Responses such as This one has leaves and this one doesnt when speaking about the
impatient and the carrot and that none of the students mentioned the words stem or
roots when giving responses also points to the need for understanding of the parts of a
plant. So teaching the parts of a plant will be incorporated into What is a plant. After
students understand the parts of a plant, what naturally follows is learning the function of
each part. This will increase the likelihood that the students will retain implicitly taught
vocabulary and give them a better overall understanding of how each part is important.
Besides the specific functions of plant parts are just so darned interesting.
After teaching about what a plant is instruction will then focus on how plants are alike
and different. A Venn diagram will be used to help students organize their thinking.
Students will share write a diagram and then create their own diagram in their science
journals.
Lastly, students will make connections with plants by thinking about where do I find
plants? Included in this area of learning and instruction will be an observation walk, think
and talk about why plants are important and the connections that we have with plants
(lets think about basics such as air to breath and lunch ).
Integrated into instruction will be hands-on learning, think time, talk what you learned,
generating questions and opportunities to express what was learned through drawing
and labeling.
To conclude our study we will summarize learning by sharing with a friend what we
learned and then group pairs sharing with the group.
This analysis was very helpful because it helped me understand my students thinking what they already know and where the gaps are. It helped me to see that I cannot
assume they know terms just because I am so familiar with them. It is also exciting to
think that there are so many discoveries my students have yet to make.(Oh! Stems!!).
For them what we often take for granted is fresh and new.