Data.gov in the Classroom
Learning to understand and analyze data is a key step in becoming a critical thinker. For our nation’s youth to reach their full potential, they need tools, resources, and opportunities. Here at Data.gov, we create the opportunities for learning, challenges for innovation, and resources for exploring the nation and the world.
The Department of Education’s “Federal Resources for Educational Excellence” project is a wealth of information. Selected offerings for teachers, parents and students include:
- Helping Your Child Learn Math: activities for parents to help children (K-5th grade) have fun learning geometry, algebra, measurement, statistics, probability and other subjects (Department of Education).
- Project Links: web-based modules for teaching advanced math methods, probability and statistics, differential equations, discrete mathematics, linear systems, and calculus (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute/ National Science Foundation).
- Collected Learning Units in Mathematics: more than 200 instructional units in arithmetic, algebra, calculus, data analysis, fractions, geometry, number theory, pre-algebra, pre-calculus, probability and statistics (National Security Agency).
- Journal of Online Mathematics and its Applications: articles, learning modules, “mathlets,” reviews of online resources, and a developers’ area (Mathematical Association of America/National Science Foundation).
- Statistics Online Computational Resource: online aids (including interactive graphs and calculators ) for probability and statistics education, technology-based instruction, and statistical computing (UCLA, supported by multiple agencies).
- Teaching with Data Simulations: activities to help students visualize abstract statistical concepts and see dynamic processes behind the gathering, analysis, and interpretation of statistics (Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College/National Science Foundation).
- Data in the Classroom: curriculum guides for using real scientific data to investigate earth processes. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
Other government sites offer the following:
- The National Center for Education Statistics Kids’ Zone, includes data-related activities for kids.
- Fedstats.gov has a kids’ page called “Map Stats for Kids” that includes activities related to statistics and geography. This site also includes a list of federal agencies with statistics-related pages for kids.
- The National Agricultural Statistics Service offers K-12 lesson plans.
- PBS Teachers website. A search for “data” on the site resulted in 262 resources, including offline activities, interactive activities, videos and lesson plans related to data collection and analysis for K-12 students and their teachers.
The National Science Teachers association website includes an extensive (100+) assembly of free resources for science teachers:
- Resources range from lesson plans to web-based activities to videos and more, on all aspects of science. Many include mathematics as well.
- Microsoft in Education offers lesson plans for a variety of subjects, including math, science and social studies, all of which include lesson plans that involve data, include creating a generation-gap survey and tracking and analyzing the resulting data; researching acid rain their state; and charting the effects of earthquakes on buildings.
- Teaching Ideas is a website for teachers working with children ages 5-11 created by U.K. primary school teacher Mark Warner, and includes a page with resources for teaching about databases and spreadsheets.
- Infant Resources: This site is a compendium of teaching resources for elementary schoolchildren assembled by U.K.-based Claire Cook (who provides no biographical information). The “Data Handling” page includes real-world games and lessons.
- A Canadian site,“Math Lessons Today”, includes games and worksheets for elementary schoolchildren.
- Sites for Teachers, lists sites for all K-12 levels on all topics, ranked by popularity, the site claims.
- Watch Know lists 158 videos for kids in its “Probability and Statistics” category, including 37 under “data analysis.”
Data.gov is also working with the International Science and Engineering Fair to bring Data.gov as a research tool and resource to K-12 students across the globe as they create, innovate, and learn about science through their research and in their schools. At this year’s International Fair in Los Angeles on May 8-13, Data.gov will be making resources available for kids to explore, learn, and analyze government data, and encourage them to create apps and views of that data.
This year Data.gov also continues their sponsorship of the USA Science and Engineering Festival. At last year’s event on the Mall in Washington, D.C. 5,000 students explored datasets ranging from health to energy through Data.gov apps and mashups that made learning fun.
Data.gov in the Classroom highlights 11 universities and colleges across America that are using the information and lessons of Data.gov to help future generations learn about government data, how to use it, and help create the apps that enable others to do so as well.
- Harvard University, Dr. Karim Lakhani, Data.gov: Matching Government Data with Rapid Innovation, Harvard Business Case Study
- New York Law School, Professor Beth Noveck, Democracy Design Workshop Do Tank, ORGPedia: Corporate Intelligence and Accountability for the 21st Century and Economic Impact of Open Gov Data
- New York University, Professor Christina Goodness, Information and Technology for Socio-political Change
- Oregon State University, Dr. Dawn Wright, Geographic Information Systems and Science
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Professor Peter Fox, Data Science
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Professor Jim Hendler, Linking Open Government Data (tutorials, apps, and mashups)
- Syracuse University, Professor Ines Mergel, Government 2.0
- Temple University, Steven L. Johnson, Data and Knowledge Management
- University of California, Berkeley, Professor Yee, Mixing and Remixing Information
- University of Michigan, Library, Access to Governmental Datasets at Data.gov
- Yale University, Dr. Laura DeNardis and Dr. Nicholas Bramble, Access to Knowledge