Unit3, Section4: What’s the Trigger?

Instructional Days: 5

Enduring Understandings

Sensors are data collection devices that collect data either continuously or whenever they are triggered. A sensor is a converter that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal, which can be read by an observer or by an instrument. Participatory Sensing is a specific data collection method that uses sensor technology. This method emphasizes the involvement of citizens and community groups in the process of sensing and documenting where they live, work, and play. Triggers play an important role in the Participatory Sensing data collection process. The response to the triggers may or may not be the same each time.


Students will view and discuss a video clip called Smart Tennis Racquets to begin to think about the sensors as data collection devices found ubiquitously in today’s world. The video can be found at:

Learning Objectives


S-IC 3: Recognize the purposes of and differences among sample surveys, experiments, and observational studies; explain how randomization relates to each.

S-IC 6: Evaluate reports based on data.

Data Science:

Understand that sensors provide a continuous stream of data. Participatory Sensing provides real-time data from a user who is willingly providing the data. What differentiates a sensor as a data gathering method is the use of a trigger that signals a data collection session.

Applied Computational Thinking:

• Create a Participatory Sensing campaign using a campaign Authoring Tool.

Real-World Connections:

Sensors are found everywhere in today’s world. They can provide data about environmental conditions as well as personal habits. More and more, sensors are being used for personal tracking, especially in the medical field, to inform people about what they do.

Language Objectives

  1. Students will use complex sentences to construct summary statements about their understanding of data, how it is collected, how it used, and how to work with it.

  2. Students will engage in partner and whole group discussions and presentations to express their understanding of data science concepts.

  3. Students will use write questions that use emphasize differences in data science concepts and skills.

Data File or Data Collection Method

Data Collection Method:

  1. Students will gather data generated through a class-generated Participatory Sensing campaign.

Data File:

  1. Students’ Participatory Sensing campaign data

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