Exploring with Big Data to Provide Maine Middle-School Aged Youth with a Bright Future


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The National Science Foundation has provided the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA) and its partner TERC in Massachusetts, a grant to design and test a model for materials to have middle-school aged youth in Maine and Massachusetts out-of-school programs and summer camps work with real, big data sets.  Jan Mokros (MMSA) and Andee Rubin (TERC) are co-Principal Investigators.

Everyone from staff who map crime data for the Portland Police Department to workers who manage the inventory at LL Bean need to know how to work with messy on-line big data sets.

This program will have 120 youth in rural Maine and Massachusetts using data sets such as animals at rescue shelters to determine where the animals come from, what kind of animals are sheltered, how long they stay and who adopts them.  Or we may look at flood data to determine what areas of the country are most exposed to rapid water rise and what events precipitate flooding.  Youth will have an opportunity to conduct their own data investigations and ask their own questions, using computer tools to explore existing data sets.

Because data science is such a new field, it is important to study how youth learn about it and engage in the processes of working with data.  In the course of the project, we will develop and use two assessment tools: an interview measure of data skills and statistical reasoning, and a survey measure of attitudes and dispositions towards data science.

For more information visit the program web page: https://mmsa.org/projects/data-clubs-for-middle-school-youth.



  • Dr. Jan Mokros
  • co-Principal Investigator
  • jmokros@mmsa.org
  • Phone: (207) 626.3230
  • x121

NSFThis project is funded by the National Science Foundation, grant #1741989.  Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Mailing Address: PO Box 2246, Augusta, Maine 04338

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