Mathematics and computational thinking – skills that have been identified as critical to data literacy (Education Development Center, 2016) – are recognized as one of the eight NGSS practices, but are largely absent from current NGSS-congruent exemplar activities (NGSS Lead States, 2013; NextGenScience, 2020). Publicly available geoscience databases and open source software invite opportunity for students to develop and apply these skills as they meaningfully explore local environmental challenges (Kelly, 2021).
This workshop is designed to help 9-14 educators leverage geoscience databases and open source software (R) in order to expand opportunities for students to engage in inquiry as professionally practiced. With publicly available NASA, NOAA, and EPA datasets as resources, step-by-step R tutorials as reference, and a Connecticut-based environmental challenge as example, participants will practice mathematics and computational thinking as they explore factors that may contribute to variation in daily air quality. Working in small groups with similar teaching assignments, participants will explore other public geoscience databases and identify potential data explorations that are relevant to their communities.
Susan Meabh Kelly is a high school Earth Science and Physics Teacher in Danbury, Connecticut, as well as a PhD candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Connecticut. As an Earth Science and Physics Teacher, Susan participated in many multi-month long agency-funded efforts to integrate archived and real-time data into K-12 classrooms via computer technology (e.g. NSF-funded NOAO Research Based Science Education, NOAA-funded AMS Datastreme graduate courses, NASA-funded Eyes in the Sky II), as well as provide opportunities for teachers to contribute to emerging research (e.g. NASA/GISS, NASA/JPL). As a graduate student Susan has served as a research assistant on two NSF-funded projects centered on integrating computational thinking in science and math classrooms (1812982; 2101615).
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