Bringing Data Science to Rural North Carolina High Schools
February 18th and 19th kicked off the first official meeting of the Data Explorers: Teacher-Coach program. Five teachers from high schools in Cumberland and Granville counties participated in a collaborative workshop focused on engaging students in data science and mathematical modeling.
Data Explorers is a collaboration between the NC State Data Science Academy and The Science House, led by Taryn Shelton and funded through a gift from COMAP. In partnership with The Friday Institute and the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the goal of our Data Explorers program is to explore how data science and math modeling can enrich content lessons while harnessing teacher expertise. The program helps teachers build both confidence and data skills in their students, particularly those from underrepresented communities.
Teachers from E.E. Smith High School and J.F. Webb High School elected to become Teacher-Coaches in the Data Explorers program with plans to bring Data Science to their classrooms, and potentially create opportunities for their students to one day compete in datathons. Throughout the weekend the teacher-coaches explored math modeling, different ways to engage their students in data science, and how to implement data investigations into their lesson plans based on their subject area. Teachers from Math, Science and English explored unique ways to have students solve real world problems and engage with data science solutions.
“My favorite moment from the weekend was when the teachers shared how being a part of Data Explorers has already changed their thinking when they are planning their usual lessons. They now recognize opportunities in mathematics, science and English to bring data conversations and analysis into the student experience.” Executive Director, Rachel Levy commented after this weekend’s meeting.
“I am most excited about the level of enthusiasm and engagement of our participants. I am looking forward to further supporting them as they look for ways to include data and modeling in their classrooms.” K-12 Data Science Coordinator, Taryn Shelton explained after leading the discussion.
Data Explorers is an opportunity for teachers in K-12 education to enrich their lessons with data and engage their students in a growing area of critical workforce need. As the program continues to grow, the DSA is looking forward to hosting datathons for high school students to compete and showcase their newly acquired Data Science skills.