This is a guest post by Gia Devlin, teacher at the Irwin Academy in Victorville, California
In my role as a sixth grade math teacher, I recently tried Microsoft’s free Choose to Code Data Science program. The program was fun, informative, and meaningful for my students. When we watched the introduction videos, the kids saw ways that data science related to their lives, which really grabbed their attention. We learned how data science could be used to choose fantasy football teams, and, from there, the boys were hooked.
As my students progressed through the lessons, they became more engaged and interested in data science, recognizing that it is very much a part of things they see or use on a daily basis. As an educator, that understanding really helped me elaborate on how we can use the data we collect in our class.
In my classroom, we are constantly keeping track of different types of data. Now that the students have some background knowledge in data science, we can analyze our own numbers and use visualizations to illustrate the information we have collected. These complex concepts are now more relatable because the data is our own, which is far more engaging for my students.
I am extremely excited about the Choose to Code Data Science program, and I am thankful that my students and I had a chance to use this program to better understand the way data is used every day in our lives. Teachers can participate by visiting datascience.choosetocode.com. The program is free, only takes one to two hours to complete, and can be taught by any teacher, no matter their expertise or background.