Phenomena and Authentic Data

All ages of students can prepare to be our next generation of biologists and scientists. Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting authentic (real-world) data is an important piece in all scientific investigations.

Students can observe and document phenomena, collect their own local data, or use curated data sets in their science learning.

  • See phenomena in the natural world,
    • Natural phenomena are observable events that occur and that we can use science knowledge to explain.
    • See this Edutopia article where an educator describes how the students use technology to document phenomena found in the outside world.
  • Learn how to utilize data from others to create graphs, charts, predict outcomes, interpret and explain outcomes, and share with others,
    • Using authentic data in your classroom will help connect your students to real-world, local research.
  • Design / set up a field investigation to collect your own data!


Check out the ICEC Iowa Authentic Data website that has authentic data sets available for use by middle school and high school students, plus information for younger students to collect their own authentic data. These data sets support students in directly using real-world data, exercising quantitative skills, and interpreting results using critical thinking.