How Can Teachers In High schools and Elementary Schools Teach Students Data Science?

At the university level, data science is expanding rapidly. Every week, it seems another university adds data science as a major, an institute or a college. But how can teachers working in high schools, and even in elementary schools, teach their students the foundations of data science? 

That’s the aim of Data Science in the Classroom, a one-day workshop for Teachers College (TC) students and affiliated educators that will explore how teachers can introduce data science into elementary and secondary school classrooms.  

The workshop, scheduled for August 13 at Teachers College's Smith Learning Theater, will feature three prominent keynote speakers: Jeannette M. Wing, Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute (DSI) and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia; Tian Zheng, Professor and Chair, Department of Statistics at Columbia and Associate Director for Education at DSI; and Sharon Sputz, Executive Director of Strategic Programs at DSI. 

There will also be two sessions whose aim is to help teachers engage students with hands-on, interactive data science projects. The first, taught by Benjamin Shapiro, Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is titled “Leveraging Personal Data to Cultivate Care in Computing Education.” The second session, taught by Ipek Ensari, a Postdoctoral Fellow at DSI, is titled “The Dog Data Scientists and Citizen Science.”

“The goal of this session is to engage young children in data science through an interactive project,” says Ensari. “In addition to doing a demonstration with the teachers and other attendees, I will provide background on the relevance of data science as a field, why we should teach it starting at an early age, and how data visualization is an appropriate skill for children to learn.” 

There will also be a fourth-grade science project: Yadin Rozov and Sela Rozov, F.E. Bellows Elementary School

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Learning Analytics Program at Teachers College and the Data Science Institute at Columbia University. For inquiries please send an email to 

–By Robert Florida

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