August 25, 2022

NSF support for data science teaching and 6-12 outreach

Less than one year into her NSF-funded project, “Collaborative Research: HDR DSC: Building Capacity in Data Science through Biodiversity, Conservation, and General Education”, Professor of Biology Greta Binford has secured $105K in supplemental federal funding to extend the impact of this work far beyond Lewis & Clark and the University of Arizona. Working closely with Associate Professor of Education Liza Finkel, the expanded project will provide professional development in conservation-centered data science pedagogy for 6th-12th grade STEM teachers in Portland, and CAS undergraduates interested in STEM teaching careers. This expansion draws on the strengths of both the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), where the primary grant is housed, and the Graduate School of Education and Counseling (GSEC)’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program.

The project team plans to recruit science teachers and CAS undergraduate students who will work together in a yearlong professional development experience. Planned activities include a week-long workshop in summer ’23, which will help 6-12 teachers and undergraduates build professional data science pedagogy and skills and support collaborative development of teaching materials appropriate for middle and high school students. In the 2023-24 school year, participating teachers will work with their undergraduate student partners to develop data science teaching materials and apply them in the classroom, and then reconvene in a summer ’24 workshop to share experiences, revise and update curriculum, and publicly share the curricular materials. This expanded project to inspire future STEM teachers and implement data science curricula in 6-12 classrooms will continue in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Arizona.

This collaboration has been fruitful so far. For example, the LC/UA team created and completed a co-convened Applied Data Science course (DSCI 244) in Spring 2022. Further, LC and UA students worked with US Fish & Wildlife Service stakeholders to access species-distribution data, create occurrence maps, model where milkweeds used by monarchs are in the desert southwest and predict future distributions. Course materials, learning outcomes, and cyber infrastructure were collaboratively created across the UA and LC, with LC library staff playing a central role in developing R training modules and teaching data science skills. LC faculty members participated in related professional and curriculum development this summer, and Professor Binford will offer a new general education course, Data in the Wild, this fall, in concert with the UA.

This additional National Science Foundation funding will enhance meaningful collaborations between CAS and GSEC, strengthen the STEM teaching pipeline, and improve data science education in middle schools, high schools, and the College of Arts & Sciences.

August 2022