Objective: Students will collect and analyze data about a particular subject.
Tools/Materials Required: Computer with internet access
Depth of Knowledge: Skills and Concepts
Teacher’s notes are in purple. For the student’s version, see Data Hunting Student Guide.
Data is everywhere. Working with data can be a powerful tool for exploring questions that matter to you. What kinds of topics can you explore by working with data? Browse this video playlist of TED Talks and watch a few for inspiration.
In this project, you will identify a topic that you find interesting, then gather and analyze data in order to learn more about it. Whether your topic is related to athletics, arts, gaming, environmental science, or anything in between, the challenge is to leverage data to learn more about it.
The topic that students pursue can be anything (as long as it is appropriate for your setting). Encourage students to pursue diverse topics! The value of this project is in learning about something that students find interesting by exploring data associated with it.
Download a dataset from World Bank Open Data, the US Federal Government, or Amazon Web Services Public Datasets, and open it with Microsoft Excel. What can you learn about the topic by exploring the data? Can you transform the data into a graph to learn anything further?
Make a survey! Follow this tutorial on how to use Survey Monkey, then make your own survey to ask your classmates about the month of their birthday, their favorite food, or any other question. What information can you gather and quantify in order to learn more about your class through a survey?
Check out the tutorials and activities in TinkerPlots to help you use this powerful tool for exploring data sets.
If you are in a school setting, consider collaborating with math, science, or business teachers for ideas on other datasets that students may find interesting.
In this project, your challenge is to learn more about a topic that interests you by collecting and analyzing data. What’s the topic? It’s up to you! The goal is to explore the topic and learn more about it by working with data.
Select a topic
Choose a topic that interests you, for example:
Whatever you choose, be sure to select something that is accessible to you. This project relies on your ability to gather data and analyze it, so this project may not be possible if you choose a topic that has no available data.
Some students may have a hard time getting started with this project. If that’s the case, it may help to kickstart their engagement by providing them with data to work with. Students may also generate their own data. For example, students may use a survey, questionnaire, or other method to collect information about others in their class or community. They may also consider self-generated data, such as their own athletic performance on their sports team or statistics about the games they play or the art they make.
Next, collect and organize the key data points about this topic. You may choose to do this with pen and paper or with a computer.
Based on the examples above, you may consider collecting:
Once you have gathered the data, consider organizing it into a chart or a spreadsheet.
What can you learn about your topic by looking closely at the data you have gathered? Try organizing and reorganizing the data in different ways to ask new questions and gain new answers. For example:
What have you learned about your topic by gathering and analyzing data? Share your findings with your classmates and friends!
Produced by Digital Promise Global, with thanks to the Open Educational Resources listed throughout this guide. Distributed to Learning Studios schools as part of HP, Inc. and Microsoft’s Reinvent the Classroom.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You may share this project or modified versions of it under this same license.