At one of the many science, technology, engineering and mathematics educational programs run by Argonne National Laboratory over the summer, attendees tackled a variety of data exercises, including investigating London’s 19th century cholera crisis. Just as doctors at the time collected and analyzed data to determine the source of the epidemic, participants discovered the problem-solving potential of data science.
But unlike Argonne’s other STEM education programs, the attendees at this data workshop were not students but Chicago Public Schools high school teachers. The teachers’ typical subjects ranged from computer science to math to physics, but they all wanted to find ways to bring data science to their classrooms.
The three-week-long Data Science Institute for High School Teachers brought eight teachers together with staff members from Argonne, which is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory affiliated with the University of Chicago.
They met at Hyde Park Academy High School in Chicago, where they learned about computer science, experimented hands-on with coding tools and practiced teaching data science to youth.
“Working with teachers allows us to have an exponential impact on communities,” said institute lead and Argonne associate Miranda Kerr. “By introducing teachers to data science — an essential skill for students — and helping them bring the concepts to their classrooms, we have the potential to introduce more than 800 students to data science. If these teachers continue to spark students’ curiosity in data science in subsequent years, there’s a huge potential for a ripple effect of increased STEM learning.”