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Above Image: Two students record tomato germination data on a chart

What is it?

The Data to Tables learning strategy provides students with a process of converting raw data collected during inquiries into various table formats (i.e., T-charts, multiple-column data tables).

Why use it?

  • To support the development of data management skills
  • Understand the structure of data tables
  • To provide students with opportunities to organize and display data obtained through quantitative observations
  • To make data ready for a more visual type of representation, such as a graph or infographic

How do I use it?

  • Before using this strategy, introduce its purpose to the students and provide students with examples of data recorded in tables. Discuss with students why data has been displayed in a particular format and the value of using tables to organize data.
  • Review/introduce students to the structure of typical tables, including:
    • Title - A table used for scientific data typically is given a title that describes the variables.
    • Columns (attributes) - a column is usually identified by a name. In scientific tables, the column on the left is for the independent variable, while the column(s) on the right are for the measurements of the dependent variable. The columns should identify the unit of measurement.
    • Rows (individual or group of similar data) – the top row is usually called a header row.
    • Cell - the intersection of a row and a column.
  • Table Title

    Header row

    Column 1

    Column 2

    Column 3

    Row 1

    Cell 1-1

    Cell 2-1

    Cell 3-1

    Row 2

    Cell 1-2

    Cell 2-2

    Cell 3-2

    Row 3

    Cell 1-3

    Cell 2-3

    Cell 3-3

    Duration of sunlight vs. plant growth

    Duration of light (hours)

    Growth Plant A (cm)

    Growth Plant B (cm)













  • Demonstrate how to construct a daily observation table using the observations gathered as part of the Seed Investigation (e.g., as stickers or tally marks on a calendar, etc.). You may wish to provide students with a ready-made template such as the ones in the Tools and Templates section below.
  • Seed Type    E    (e.g. E or F)


    Day Number

    Total Number Germinated

    Notes and Comments
    Examples: Time of day that observations were made, changes in room temperature, etc.

    March 16, 2016



    Seeds planted at 10:30 am

    March 17, 2016



    11:00 am, 22°C

    March 18, 2016




    March 19, 2016




    March 20, 2016



    11:05 am, 23°C, seeds sprouting, watered trays

    March 21, 2016



    11:15 am, 21°C, Seedlings with leaves!

    March 22, 2016



    9:50 am, 22°C, another 2 seeds germinated.

    March 16, 2016




  • Throughout the Seed Investigation process, have the students observe and make daily, dated entries in the appropriate sections of the daily observation table.

Tips for success

  • Students new to using tables should begin with table templates that are pre-labelled and appropriately organized for the anticipated amount and range of data.
  • Adapt table templates to provide greater opportunities for students to determine labelling requirements, units of measure and formats of displaying data.
  • Explicitly teach and practice Processes of Science such as Identifying Variables so that students understand which test groups they are comparing (Independent Variables) and the measurement being recorded to compare these groups (Dependent Variables).


  • Have student share and explain tables they have created with other students.
  • Daily observation charts can be done individually or collaboratively.
  • Individual students could be assigned to complete given days of the daily observation table.
  • Provide opportunities to have students incorporate tables into inquiry reports, inquiry summaries and presentations (see the Making Conclusions section).
  • Use raw data collected from extensions of the Seed Investigation to organize data and create tables.
  • The various templates in the Tools and Template section can be differentiated according to grade level, interests and abilities of students.

Tools and Templates

Seed Investigation Class Daily Germination Table pdf doc

Data to Tables - Exemplar - Daily Germination Table pdf doc

Data to Tables – Seed Investigation - Daily Germination Table pdf doc

Data to Tables - Exemplar - Daily Germination Table pdf doc

Daily Observation Table – Template K-3 pdf doc

Daily Observation Table – Template 4-12 pdf doc