Getting Students Jazzed about Critical Zone: Engaging Students in Authentic Inquiry through Data Jam

October 1, 2017


Steven McGee

The Learning Partnership

Noelia Báez Rodríguez

University of Puerto Rico

Critical Zone science provides a rich context for middle and high school students in Puerto Rico to investigate their own questions about a recent drought and historical storm events. The Critical Zone Observatories are part of a growing trend in environmental science to collect long-term data about environmental phenomena, which has led to a tremendous explosion of publicly available datasets on all facets of environmental science. This article describes the second year of a pilot effort by the Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory (LCZO) and the Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research Progam (Luq-LTER) to address the challenges of teaching students about data science by integrating LCZO, Luq-LTER, and US Geological Survey (USGS) datasets and a teaching strategy called Data Jam, which was developed at the Asombro Institute for Science Education. The essence of the Data Jam model is to support students in exploring, analyzing, and summarizing long-term data about the environment and then creatively communicating their discoveries to non-scientific audiences. The Data Jam model also provides an opportunity for students to apply what they are learning in math about statistics and probability.

Suggested Citation

McGee, S., & Rodriguez, N. B. (2017). Getting students jazzed about critical zone: Engaging students in authentic inquiry through Data Jam. In the Trenches, 7(4), 5-8.

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