LUQ Schoolyard Data Jams
Data Jam Workshop
by Noelia Báez
On November 18, 2016, twenty science teachers from the Puerto Rico private and public school sectors participated in a six-hour Data Jam Workshop hosted at the Forward Learning facilities in Guaynabo. The success of this effort was achieved through the collaboration among several partner groups and individuals: Dr. Steven McGee and Noelia Báez, LUQ-LTER educator representatives; Dr. Jess Zimmerman, LUQ-LTER Lead-PI; Dr. Bill McDowell, LCZO Lead-PI; Dr. Alain Planter, LCZO scientist; Martha Scholl, a USGS scientist; Miguel León, LCZO Information Manager; Alexis Torres, President of Forward Learning; Mayrelis Narváez, a science educator consultant for Forward Learning; Daniel Damelin, Lead-PI and curriculum developer of The Concord Consortium; and Mrs. Dilia Haddock, PR Department of Education Science Director. During the workshop, teachers had the opportunity to work with the 1994 and 2015 drought data and parameters such as stream flow, rainfall, reservoir height and soil moisture. They also had access to 1992-2011 storm events data, including rainfall frequency, intensity and event duration. Both data sets were obtained from LCZO, USGS and LUQ-LTER databases. The objective was to investigate a basic ecology question and develop a claim-evidence-reasoning PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate their findings. The teachers were introduced to the Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP), which is a user-friendly, web-based data analysis platform, designed to be used by middle and high school teachers and students. CODAP will help students summarize, visualize and interpret data. Excel and PowerPoint training was also provided by Ramonita del Valle from Forward Learning. Following the workshop, the teachers will conduct data jams with their students back in the classroom over the course of the school year, motivating them to use ecological data collected in the Luquillo Experimental Forest by the LCZO, LUQ-LTER and USGS to create a project that presents the data in a non-traditional way. Students will be able to submit their creative projects for consideration to present at the annual symposium at UPRRP in May. Those teachers who successfully implement the data jam with their students are eligible be invited to participate in a Fieldwork Protocols workshop for the subsequent school year.
At the end of the workshop, 2015 Data Jam teacher participants had the chance to speak for five minutes about their experiences, explaining how they incorporated the Data Jam into their classroom activities and the teaching techniques used to motivate students’ participation.