If you are teaching students about data analysis or practicing graphing and computation, think beyond the traditional databases used for your subject area to make the exercise more interesting. One of my favorite databases is Petfinder. What could be better for making a data table or a graph than a comparison of two or more variables where all of your research requires looking at photos of tumbling puppies and stoic furballs who become animated when they see a dangling feather? Teach your students about independent and dependent variables by asking them to set up questions they can answer with data found on Petfinder, such as, Does the availability of barnyard animals correlate with distance from an urban area? or, Can the size of a dog predictor of how long it will take to be adopted? If you are tying content to your students’ research skills, consider using this database in combination with information gathered from other sources by asking more complex questions such as, Do traits that appear with a greater probability in the domestic dog population indicate a dominant phenotype?
For more free databases, go to my blog on DataClassroom and Data Nuggets.
Got a fun site that is your go-to? Use the contact link at the bottom of this page to share your favorite non-traditional database.