So Much Great Visual Data!

I really enjoyed having a look around for inforgraphics that would be suitable and effective teaching tools for my students. I enjoyed it so much I went off course a few times because the information presented was just so interesting. This one about teenage vs senior brains and how their brains affect their driving and in many cases cause accidents made me think of my parents and how they are starting to get up there a little. It will be soon that they will be checking with their doctors to make sure that are in fact still competent and capable drivers. I thought briefly about sharing the infographic on Facebook but I worried about the backlash from my “senior-ish and senior-approaching” aunts and uncles that I decided not to.


I also liked this one about the process of recycling plastic. I try to do a lot of found materials projects in my STEM class. I am currently starting a unit where we make bottle rockets from 500 ml water bottles that would otherwise be thrown in the trash. Recycling is a bit of a foreign concept in my host country. The huge numbers of plastic bottles that litter the streets and sides of the roads is truly shocking. I thought it would be a great way to demonstrate to my students what could possibly be done to curb this problem. Unfortunately, the infographic is quite in depth, so much so that I think it would be hard for my elementary school students to follow it. So this one was not going to work.


I posted 17 Signs our World is Changing for the Better to Facebook. I am making a strong effort to keep my wall positive and this one seemed to fit the bill. This infographic on relative difficulty for English speakers to learn new languages helped me to realize why my efforts to learn Arabic failed miserably. It is one of the hardest languages to learn. I may give Spanish a shot though. Apparently, learning to speak Spanish is a little more easily attainable. Right, getting sidetracked again…sorry!


I am doing a unit on Mousetrap racers with my Grade 4’s and Elastic Band Cars with my Grade 1’s so I thought this video on The Evolution of Driver Safety would be a good one.


I plan to talk about how scientists, engineers and /or researchers looked at some of the problems associated with automobile accidents and how they went through the design process to come up with solutions that actually saved lives. Three great examples are seatbelts, airbags and advanced braking systems (ABS). I am certainly going to use this opportunity to remind my students about the importance of wearing a seatbelt. This is not a habit that has been adopted by our local population and it is more than a little sad.
This video can also be used as a springboard to discuss future innovations that could make drivers and passengers even safer on the road. It is certain that other innovations in other areas have had the opposite impact on driver safety. Smartphones are a really great example of this. I hope to see what else my kids can come up with as an example of other ways that innovations have made road transportation a little less safe.

Overall I am hopeful this video will help them start to think about safe driving practices and that they will adopt some of them. I also want them to realize that when designing and building a vehicle there are all kinds of other systems that need to planned and included in the overall design of the vehicle. They will get a taste of the difficulties that designers/engineers face when putting together such a complex machine. I am sure they will be very happy that they only have to come up with a chassis, an axle and wheel system and an engine.

2 thoughts on “So Much Great Visual Data!

  1. Andrew,

    I really enjoyed looking at the infographics you selected in your post. The one that showed the ‘17 signs the world is already changing for the better’ was very effective towards giving quick and clear information. I was able to find out so many positive things going on in the world in less than two minutes. I also found the one that compared teens and seniors as safe drivers very interesting, but I felt that for an infographic there was a lot of print. I also felt that some of the visuals could be maybe a little bit more informative themselves, rather than just having visuals for the sake of visuals. When I look at an infographic, I want the visuals to tell a lot of the story, not just the wording on the page. Ha! Here I am critiquing infographics. Do I have the ability to do that yet?

    I like your choice for the infographic you will use to introduce your class to the new unit. I feel that the combination of infographic and digital storytelling in the video (I think we call this a motion graphic) will do a great job capturing the focus of the students and gain their interest in the topic. I think it will also make the expectations and instructions for the project very clear. Best of luck!

    Rob D

  2. Hey Andrew,
    Thank you for bringing to the forefront two important issues in our local community. Neither safe driving nor plastic reuse is of major focus in our school or municipal practice, and both are very impactful and useful notions to be sharing with our students. I love how your STEM units always use everyday objects and can be adapted for home creation. They deeply inspire people to become aware of what is around them and how they can manipulate and combine materials to create something new. The Plastic Infographic you shared ( link to really illuminated the plastic recycling system and is an easy-to-use infographic to share with classes when discussing recycling.

    Thanks for sharing! Tara

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