Zoom In! Teaching Science with Data

Working on a lesson

The world we live in is increasingly data-driven. The knowledge that our society gains from collecting and processing data touches every facet of our lives, from our health and safety to the development of innovative technologies to solve the world's energy crisis. Equipping students with the skills needed to thrive in this world requires educational tools that engage students in using data to construct knowledge and solve problems.

Zoom In! Teaching Science with Data will integrate two learning technologies—EDC’s Zoom In and Concord Consortium’s Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP)—to build high school students’ skills in using data to investigate significant questions in biology and...

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Real World, Real Science: Using NASA Data to explore Weather and Climate

Photo: GMRI

This NASA-funded collaboration with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) builds on the success of GMRI’S existing LabVenture! Program to create new learning experiences focused on exploring the relationship between weather and climate. Educators and students will be able to interact with authentic NASA and NOAA data through a custom-built interface to study the effects of climate and weather in their specific region.

The grant will allow GMRI to update the LabVenture! technology, and develop new educational content that will not only be part of the interactive kiosks at GMRI, but will also be made web-accessible to visitors in other science centers and classrooms in Maine and nationwide. The new educational content is expected to be...

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Creating Pathways for Big Data Careers

ODI's Joe Ippolito leading the profiling.

To address the urgent and rapidly growing need for workers proficient in the use of Big Data the Oceans of Data Institute (ODI) of Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) will work with four community colleges to create a career pathway model for Big Data careers. A panel of Big Data subject matter experts representing a variety of professional fields will identify the entry, middle and high level Big Data skills, knowledge and behaviors that are needed in the workplace.  These skills, knowledge and behaviors will be organized and aligned to Big Data jobs. The pathway model will be co-designed by ODI and partners Bunker Hill Community College (MA), Normandale Community College (MN), Johnson County Community College (KS) and Sinclair Community College (OH). Together these partners will...

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Building Global Interest in Data Literacy: A Dialogue

Ruth Krumhansl

ODI and IBM teamed up for a three-day workshop, October 4-6, 2015, which convened a panel of 12 professionals from both data-intensive industries and K-16 education. The workshop resulted in several products, including:

  • defining what it means to be data literate;
  • a signed Proclamation of the Need for Data Literacy and Call for Action, endorsed by the panel of experts; and
  • workshop report

Defining What It Means to be Data Literate
The data literate individual understands,...

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An Occupational Skills Profile for the Big-Data-Enabled Specialist

Creating the occupational skills profile

Professionals in many career fields now find that researching, analyzing and integrating data is essential to their work. Much of this change has occurred because of the rise of big data–gigantic data sets that are increasingly informing decisions in scientific, medical, business, and economic fields. As is the case in any nascent field, it is important to identify the specific skills and knowledge that young people will need to successfully compete in a changing economy. In August of 2014, the Oceans of Data Institute convened a panel of experts at EDC to develop an occupational profile of the “Big Data Enabled Specialist.” The meeting brought together a panel of science, education, business, and public sector experts from across the country, and will help inform conversations about K-12 ...

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Ocean Tracks College Edition

OTCE Interface

Ocean Tracks College Edition (OT-CE) is a three-year research and development project funded by NSF (grant # DUE-1431903), involving a collaboration between EDC and the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  The project is creating an interactive Web-based learning resource to help students at different types of undergraduate institutions -- and in both online and face-to-face educational settings -- develop valuable skills in analyzing and learning from large, authentic scientific datasets. Built on a deep foundation of exploratory work from the Oceans of Data and Ocean Tracks...

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Professional Development to Integrate the Practices of Science and Engineering into Earth & Space Science Education

The Next Generation Science Standards place a strong emphasis on students’ mastery of “practices” of science and engineering. Among these practices is “Analyzing and interpreting data.” With funding from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education we are conducting a professional development institute to help high school and middle school teachers incorporate science practices into their student activities and classroom discourse. Teachers spent two weeks at EDC during the summer of 2014, and will participate in follow-up webinars throughout the fall semester.

To discuss the affordances of large, professionally collected...

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The Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP)


Awarded in the fall of 2013 by the National Science Foundation, EDC is working with Concord Consortium and the University of Minnesota on the Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP) project. The CODAP team is developing and classroom-testing an online, open-source data analysis platform that can be used in conjunction with a variety of data types and curricula. The project’s overarching goal is to improve the quantity and quality of learning with data that occurs in K–12 STEM classrooms so that students emerge better prepared to participate in our data-driven society. The hypothesis is that collaboration with STEM projects to develop online data analysis tools and curricula, plus foundational research on how students perceive and learn with data, will move us toward that goal.


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EarthCube Education End-Users' Workshop

Earth Cube

EarthCube is an NSF initiative to develop a national cyberinfrastructure which will give researchers and students easy access to earth data and models in a way that is intended to catalyze and facilitate interdisciplinary thinking and systems thinking, across institutional, spatial, and temporal boundaries. As input into the design of EarthCube, NSF sponsored a series of "end-user workshops," in which groups of potential EarthCube users were asked to define and articulate the needs of their communities. Our workshop convened scientist-educators, employers who wish to hire data-savvy graduates, data providers who wish to have students and teachers among their user communities, and technologists who develop tools and capabilities for...

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Ocean Tracks: Investigating Marine Migrations in a Changing Ocean

Ocean Tracks

Ocean Tracks: Investigating Marine Migrations in a Changing Ocean (Ocean Tracks) was a two-year Phase I research and development project funded by NSF (grant #1222413).  A collaboration between EDC and Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, Ocean Tracks is a student-friendly interface to authentic scientific data from the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) Program, NOAA’s Global Drifter Program, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at UC Santa Barbara. Students use the Ocean Tracks interface to explore the migration patterns of large marine species, making connections between animal movement patterns and characteristics of the ocean environment...

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Bridging the Gap Between Tabletop Models and the Earth System


This classroom research project seeks to understand more about how teachers teach and students learn using physical models in Earth Science. A key finding is that classroom teaching with models tends to be disconnected from teaching with data, even when the same teacher does both in the same course. This is in contrast to the situation in scientific research data, where there is a constant interplay between the two. We suggest a teaching sequence in which students experience using data to develop and test a model and conversely use model output to guide the collection of data.

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FIRE: Making Meaning from Geoscience Data

Eye Tracking

This laboratory research project seeks to understand more about how students form inferences and interpretations as they view geoscience data visualizations. Individual participants view data visualizations of topography/bathymetry or ocean salinity while answering an experimenter’s spoken questions about what they are seeing and what they think it means. Their responses and gestures are videotaped, and their gaze position is recorded using a Tobii eye-tracking system. This is a collaborative project with the Spatial Intelligence & Learning Center, funded under a special NSF program to foster interdisciplinary research in...

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InTeGrate Project

InTeGrate is a nationwide effort to transform undergraduate geoscience education in such a way as to increase the flow of individuals with Earth expertise into the employment pipeline and to contribute to solving national grand challenges of environmental sustainability. Oceans of Data Institute Principal Scientist Kim Kastens is one of the external evaluators for the project. InTeGrate’s work intersects with the Institute's work because one of the five themes guiding InTeGrate pedagogy is that all instructional materials developed through InTeGrate are required to “make use of authentic and credible geoscience data.” This project involves dozens of organizations across the country led by the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College and funded through NSF’s STEM Talent Expansion...

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Oceans of Data: What Is Needed to Support Students Learning with Large Scientific Databases?

Oceans of Data

The practice of science and engineering is being revolutionized by the development of cyberinfrastructures for accessing near real-time and archived observatory data. To inform efforts at bridging scientific cyberinfrastructures to the classroom, Education Development Center, Inc., and The Scripps Institution of Oceanography conducted a collaborative exploration focusing on the central question, “How can the design of electronic interfaces support high school students’ learning with large scientific databases?” The EDC team, lead by PI Ruth Krumhansl, reviewed and coded more than 200 articles from over 50 different journals representing diverse fields such as science and mathematics education, the geosciences, neuropsychology, computer science, statistics,...

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Professional Development to Improve the Spatial Thinking of Earth Science Teachers and Their Students


Spatial thinking involves drawing meaning from the position, shape, orientation, trajectory, or configuration of objects or phenomena. For any kind of data displayed on a map or cross-section, spatial thinking is likely to be an important cognitive tool. In this project, we analyzed over 1,000 items from the end-of-course earth science exam given to students in New York state to determine what kinds of spatial thinking were required. We found out that spatial thinking is very common, occurring in 53% of items, and that spatial items are harder on average than non-spatial items. We also developed a professional development workshop series to help earth science teachers understand and foster spatial thinking. This project is a collaboration with teacher Michael J. Passow of Lamont-Doherty Earth...

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Data-Enhanced Investigations for Climate Change Education (DICCE)


With support from the National Science Foundation, EDC is working with SRI International and NASA in the development and piloting of interactive websites for high school classroom climate-change investigations. The websites allow high school students and teachers to assemble customized datasets about local and global climate change from NASA remotely sensed Earth observation mission data archived in NASA’s Goddard Interactive Online Visualization and Analysis Infrastructure (GIOVANNI). GIOVANNI (DICCE-G) is a powerful portal of Earth observation data that provides access to numerous data products on Earth system phenomena covering land biosphere, physical land, ocean biosphere, physical ocean, physical atmosphere, atmospheric gases, and energy and radiation system. Teachers and students can query...

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Other Worlds: Other Earths

Astronomy Wikimedia Image

The Other Worlds: Other Earths project aims to give high school students first-hand experience in gathering, analyzing and interpreting data. In two laboratory modules, the students use online telescopes to search for exoplanets. During the first lab, students direct a remote telescope to take images over the ~4-hour period it takes for a planet to pass between Earth and a star, then they carefully analyze the light measurements in these images to detect the very slight dimming of the starlight that occurs during the exoplanet transit. They combine their measurements with those of other students (in their class and nationally) to generate a light curve, which they then interpret to detect the transit and characteristics of the exoplanet and its orbit. They use models in the second...

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EDC Earth Science

EDC Earth Science Project

EDC  Earth Science, developed as part of the NSF-funded Foundation Science project at EDC (grant #0439443) and published by LAB-AIDS, takes students on an exploration of current and compelling questions, seeking answers grounded in authentic data and the growing body of knowledge about Earth’s systems. A full-year high school earth science course developed with support from the National Science Foundation and fully aligned to A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas (The Framework) (National Research Council, 2012), EDC Earth Science...

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