Data4Kids: Virtually Teaching Kids about Data Science

When the COVID-19 pandemic first shut down in-person learning, we knew education wouldn’t be the same. How could kids—especially younger kids in elementary schools—learn and socialize if they weren’t in a real classroom?

The goal of the Data4Kids project is to help educators prepare children to be better data users, stewards, and consumers. With support from the South Big Data Hub, the Urban Institute and our partners have created a set of tools and resources to help teach kids in primary and secondary school about data, data science, and data visualization in a virtual environment. We balanced our expertise in data science and data visualization with our partners’ expertise in conducting in-person and online instruction to children across the country.

To assist educators in supporting students’ data science learning, we created five data stories educators can freely access and modify for their own uses and students’ experiences. Each story is a starter kit for educators at different levels: grades 3–5 (band 1), grades 6–8 (band 2), and grades 9–12 (band 3).

Each data story includes five items:

  1. Instructors’ guide: This file describes the learning goals for the activity, specific questions (with answers) for students to explore, and additional teaching resources and notes.
  2. Data: We provide data in three formats: Microsoft Excel, CSV, and Google Sheets.
  3. Data dictionary: Definitions for data values in each story are available in Microsoft Word and Google Doc formats.
  4. Teaching slides: We have created specific slides—with proposed questions for exploration and data visualizations—in Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides formats.
  5. Zip file: This file contains the four items above in Microsoft and CSV formats.

Become a Collaborator

We also encourage all webpage visitors to contribute to this project!

  • If you are an educator, please let us know how you have used these materials, if they have been helpful, and what else would be helpful in your efforts.
  • If you work in data science or related fields, please consider contributing your own data story. We have created templates in all the above toolkits so anyone can assemble a dataset, formulate questions and answers, and develop data visualizations to help educators around the world. You can visit this Google Form to provide feedback or propose your own data story.