Creating and interpreting visual displays of data is an important component of quantitative and scientific literacy. We examined a figure-analysis activity called “Figure of the Day” (FotD) and its impact on undergraduate biology students' figure creation skills. The treatment FotD activity required that students interpret a figure with some contextual information missing (e.g., titles, labels, legends). The control FotD activity required that students interpret a figure with no missing contextual information. Students in both the treatment and control groups made significant gains in their figure creation abilities. Bootstrapping of the Wilcoxon signed-rank effect sizes, r, shows large effect sizes for both the treatment (r ± SE = 0.708 ± 0.034) and control (r ± SE = 0.688 ± 0.0395) activities. Students most often reported that the activity's positive aspects were increases in their figure interpretation and creation skills. Commonly reported negative aspects of the activity were that it took too much time and the figures were confusing. Students in the treatment group more often reported that the activity was enjoyable. This suggests that regular interaction with figures in the style of the FotD activity can improve students' figure creation skills in a meaningful and enjoyable way.

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