Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

PocketLab Sensor Tech: Engage Students With Data

Shayna Pond, Teresa Randall | Published: April 6th, 2022 by K20 Center

Essential Questions

How can teachers get students excited, engaged, and comfortable interacting with data in an authentic way?

Learning Goals

  • View classroom examples of PocketLab sensors in use

  • Experience "hands on" time with pocket sensors

Materials List


10 Minute(s)

Use lesson slides to guide the presentation. In order to get participants thinking and talking about their prior experiences with data in the classroom, display slide 3 with the Essential Question, "How can teachers get students excited, engaged, and comfortable interacting with data in an authentic way?"

Introduce the Learning Objectives for this activity on slide 4. Then move to slide 5 for the first activity.

Direct participants to notice the four meme posters displayed on each wall of the room. Then ask them to think for a moment about how they feel when using data in the classroom with their students. Have participants then move to the poster that most accurately represents that feeling.

Provide some time for each group to discuss why they chose that poster.

After discussion, move to slide 6. Ask participants to think one more time about using data in their classroom. This time they should consider how the students feel when they are using data. Then they can move to the sign that illustrates their students' feelings.

Provide more time for each group to discuss the poster of choice, this time focusing on how the students feel using data.


30 Minute(s)

Move to slide 7. Pass out the Note Catchers to each person. Divide participants into three groups. Place a Task Card at each station and assign each group to begin at one of the three sensor stations.

  1. Voyager

  2. Air

  3. Weather

Each station is equipped with a sensor and a device running the PocketLab application. Every station also has a Task Card with instructions to connect the sensor to the PocketLabs application and to gather and view different types of data associated with that particular sensor.

Each group should work through the Task Card at their station until it is time to rotate to the next station. Provide time for all three groups to visit all three sensor stations.

As they rotate, individuals can use the Note Catcher to take down any helpful or pertinent information about each sensor for personal use in their classroom.


10 Minute(s)

Go through slides 8-11 as a whole group. Review some of the key benefits and highlights this technology provides from slide 8. Then as you go through the bullet points for each sensor type (slides 8-11), engage participants to share the experiences they had while exploring the sensors in their stations.


5 Minute(s)

Bring up slide 12 and share two resources for using PocketLabs in the classroom. The QR codes on the slide are also on each participant's Note Catcher and direct links can be found in the slide notes and in the tech note below.

Provide time for participants to explore the library of resources. Ask participants to consider," How would this look in your classroom? Using what you've learned today about pocket lab sensors, what are some ways you can incorporate them in your content area?"

Be prepared to share.


Go to slide 13. Provide instructions for a Tweet Up share out. Have participants prepare a short summary of how they can get students excited about using data with pocket lab sensors. End with slide 14.

Research Rationale

Planning, carrying out investigations, and analyzing and interpreting data are performance expectations of the OASS Science and Engineering Practice Standards. It is not enough for students to read about science; they must do science. Students must engage in planning and carrying out investigations, making observations, asking questions, analyzing data, constructing explanations, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information to gain the science knowledge and skills to be college, career, and citizen ready upon graduation from high school (OAS, 2020). Students are able to make meaning from data when they work with clear and relevant visualizations or representations of data (Hunter-Thompson, 2020).