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Data Collection Module 7 Lesson 6

LESSON 6: COLLECTING DATA

OVERVIEW:
In this lesson students learn how to use the recording equipment. Over a 2-3 day period
students collect the necessary data to answer their research questions created in Lesson
5. Students should have roles, giving them a specific responsibility within their group.
Roles can then be rotated amongst collection days to give each student a different
experience. The first day of data collection may be mostly practice, and therefore it is
important to have at least another day for students to go out and collect more accurate
data. In lesson 7, they will analyze the data that they collect in this lesson. It is best if
students can alternate class periods where they are recording and analyzing their data.

WAYS OF KNOWING URBAN ECOLOGY:


Students will…
Understand No specific goals connected with talking about urban
ecology in this lesson.
Talk No specific goals connected with talking about urban
ecology in this lesson.
Do • Operate sound recording equipment, including transferring
files to computers.
• Collect animal behavior data that will help them answer
their selected research question.
Act No specific goals connected with acting on urban ecology
in this lesson.
SAFETY GUIDELINES:
Ensure that students are cautious with the recording equipment. Students should also be
aware of the risks of working in the field.

PREPARATION:
Time:
This lesson should be used in conjunction with Lesson #11: Data Analysis, so combined,
the two lessons should take approximately:
2-4 class periods

Materials

Activity 6.1 and Activity 6.2


For each group of 3-4 students
Recording deck
Binoculars
Bird identification guide
Clip board
Copies of the data sheet
Decibel meter
Grid map of study site
Copies of Bioacoustics field notes

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Data Collection Module 7 Lesson 6

Activity 6.3
Computers
USB cables to connect recording decks to computers

INSTRUCTIONAL SEQUENCE:
Before Class.
1. Check the
o microphone battery
o recording deck batteries
o decibel meter battery
o replacement battery supply (in case the batteries die in the field – AA &
9V)
o file space on the decks (memory cards should be erased after each day in
the field)

Activity 6.1: Introduction to Recording Equipment


Note: Activity 6.1 will only be done on the first day of data collection and will not be
repeated unless necessary.

Teaching Alternative
If you are doing the low tech investigation you can skip this activity. You will, however,
want to make sure students are comfortable using the decibel meters. You may also want
to ask students: What makes a good observation? Discuss observation skills with students
so they can collect accurate data.

1. Before heading out to the field site, explain to students that today they will learn
how to use the recording equipment and collect bird song data for their research
study.
2. Students should get into their groups that they created the research question with.
Explain that each student will have a role, but that they should rotate their roles
every 5 to 10 minutes. Use the following roles for groups of four:
o Role 1: Record decibel levels using a sound-level meter
o Role 2: Record songs using recording equipment
o Role 3: Bird identification using binoculars and field guide
o Role 4: Data recorder
o These last two roles can be collapsed if a group has only 3 students.
3. Pass out the recording equipment to each group. Each group should have a deck,
a set of headphones, and a microphone.
4. Students may want to begin to play with the equipment but it is important to
emphasize to the students that this is very expensive equipment that needs to be
treated with care. It’s also important to emphasize that it is the same equipment
used by researchers at universities such as Boston College and Cornell University.
5. Direct students through the followings steps:

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Data Collection Module 7 Lesson 6

o Plug microphone into the front of the deck. Note that there is a volume
level here - make sure it’s set around 5 or half-way. This will not affect
the recordings - this volume is strictly for the listener. There is also a
volume level on the headphones.

Activity 6.2: Collecting Data


In this activity students will collect the data necessary to answer their research question.
Depending on students’ focus, the conditions of the field site, and students’ research
questions, it should take students 2 to 3 days at the study site to collect the necessary
data.
1. In their groups students should review their research questions and the data they
need to collect while at the study site.
2. Remind students of their roles in the field. Explain that each student will have a
role, but that they should rotate their roles every 5 to 10 minutes.

Teaching Suggestion:
Students will often need reminders to rotate between roles. When you’re in the field
watch for individuals dominating the recording equipment roles.

3. Take students outside. Each group of students should have at lease one grid map
(from Lesson 2) of their study site.
o Each student should also have a copy of the Bioacoustics Field Notes
sheet
4. Have students complete their data collection in the field

Note on Data Management I:


You may with to collect students’ data at the end of every class. Especially if you have
high absentee rates as it will be difficult for students to complete their investigation if the
student with the data is absent. Another option is to create a folder for each group to
store their research plans and data in which remains in the classroom.

Activity 6.3: Transferring Audio Files


You may wish to transfer the files yourself to one computer and then move them onto the
student computers. This is the best option if you don’t have time immediately following
the recording session to download files. It would be best however, for students to transfer
the data files themselves right after collecting it in the field.

Teaching Alternative
If you are doing the low tech investigation you will not have audio files to transfer.
1. How to transfer files:
o Turn the deck off.
o Connect the USB port to the computer and the mini USB to the side of the
deck.
o Hold down the “MENU” button on the deck while turning on the deck.

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o The display screen should read “I/O Online” and the deck should now appear
as an external hard drive on your computer.
o Cut and Paste these files to the desired folder on your computer.
o Make sure you delete these files off the decks so there is space for the next
class recording.
o The files will be dated and time-stamped which will be helpful in separating
files from multiple classes recorded on the same decks.
Note on Data Management II:
While there are many ways to organize files, this system has worked fairly well when
downloading files
1. Create a folder for each deck (e.g. deck 1, deck 2)
2. Create a subfolder for each class period
3. Cut and paste files (based on time-stamps) into the correct folder
4. For example, you’d have a folder for “Deck 1.” Inside that folder would be 4
folders class 1, class 2, class 3 and class 4. Students could then look at their data
sheet, see that they used deck 1 and then go to there class period to find their files.
Concluding the Lesson
1. Have students reflect on their experience in the field
o Did anything surprise you while collecting data?
o Were there any difficulties using the recording equipment?
o What are your goals for the next data collection day?

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Data Collection Module 7 Lesson 6

Bioacoustics Field Notes


Name:__________________________ Class: ______________
Date:_____________________

Site Description: (Are you in a field, near woods, near a road? What kind of noise is present?)

Weather: (including approximate temperature, sun or clouds, etc.)

Recording Deck #: _____________


Recording
# Bird Species or Decibel Level
Time Location Noise Source (Loudness) Other Information

example corner of south and main


8:04 streets traffic noise 90 db heavy traffic (rush hour)

example edge of football field near black-capped windy, light traffic noise
9:54 visitors team's bleachers chickadee 75 db students on soccer field

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Recording Bird Species or Decibel Level


# Time Location Noise Source (Loudness) Other Information

10

11

12

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14

15

16

17

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Activity 6.3: Transferring Audio Files

How to Transfer Your Audio Files

1) Turn the deck off.

2) Connect the USB port to the computer and the mini USB to the side of the
deck.

3) Hold down the “MENU” button on the deck while turning on the deck.

4) The display screen should read “I/O Online” and the deck should now appear
as an external hard drive on your computer.

5) Cut and Paste these files to the desired folder on your computer.

6) Make sure you delete these files off the decks so there is space for the next
class recording.

7) The files will be dated and time-stamped which will be helpful in separating
files from multiple classes recorded on the same decks.