Above Image: A tomato in front of a mirror
What is it?
A Q + Q Observations Organizer learning strategy is used to develop and practice the skill of making qualitative and quantitative observations.
Why use it?
- To support the development of observation skills and classifying/organizing skills.
- To help students understand the concepts of quantitative and qualitative observations.
- To provide a basic framework for practicing making quantitative and qualitative observations.
How do I use it?
- Before using this strategy, introduce its purpose to the students and provide a structured example to teach and model expected behaviours.
- Provide students with a Q+Q Organizer Template. See Tools and Templates.
- Review or introduce the difference between qualitative and quantitate observations using specific examples (e.g., qualitative – the leaves are green, fuzzy, etc. and quantitative – the leaf is 10 cm long, the plant is 17 cm tall, etc.).
- Provide students with appropriate observing (e.g., magnifying glass, microscopes, binoculars, etc.) and measuring tools (e.g., rulers, scales, thermometers, probe ware, etc.) and model and/or demonstrate how to use different tools for collecting qualitative and quantitative data.
- Have student share and compare their Q+Q observations with elbow partners or table groups to build on each other’s skills of observation.
Tips for Success
- Have beginners make observations using the Q + Q organizer with simple quantitative data and items that have distinct qualitative features.
- As students are making qualitative observations, prompt them to consider observing with all of their senses, with clearly defined exceptions to address safety concerns (Safety Alert: Students should not be encouraged to taste something, unless it is safe and a planned aspect of gathering data for an investigation. Always check for potential allergies prior to introducing food products or tasting as a component of student inquiry).
- Begin by having students focus on making either quantitative or qualitative observations and then have them make the other type of observations.
- Introduce and prompt the use of descriptive vocabulary that will support making qualitative and quantitative observations.
- Use the Q+Q Observations - Guided Practice [PDF] prior having students make observations from explorations.
- If students cannot write qualitative observations, have them describe observations orally or through visual representations (i.e. drawings, photographs)
- Students’ oral observations could be charted for them.
- Students in groups can make their own individual observations on sticky notes and then add these to a group Q+Q Organizer, which are then sorted by the group.
- Modify the Q+Q template as necessary to accommodate different types and amounts of data and/or observations.
Q+Q Observations - Seed Investigation - landscape
Q+Q Observations - Seed Investigation - portrait
Q+Q Observations Organizer - Template for K-3
Q+Q Observations - Guided Practice