Hungry for outreach? Try a Data Nugget!

The title of our Data Nugget.
If you are passionate about the broader impact of your data, you should consider incorporating it into a Data Nugget. Data Nuggets are an opportunity for scientists to bring their data into the K-12 classroom. A Data Nugget is an activity, developed by scientists and teachers, that use real scientific data. Using real data in the classroom gives students experience working with "messy ecological data."

Two summers ago I worked with my advisor, a Research Experience for Undergraduate student, and a Research Experience for Teachers intern (RET) to complete a study investigating how gradients of salt and phosphorus influence soil microbes. Our RET, Ms. Casal, was fantastic! Ms. Casal's background is in chemistry and she teaches at Felix Varela. Ms. Casal went into the field with us to collect samples, helped run analyses on samples in the lab, and co-designed our Data Nugget.

Our RET, Ms. Casal, helping process samples in the lab.
Ms. Casal was always rocking a Felix Varela chemistry t-shirt
Together Dr. Kominoski, Ms. Casal, and I selected data from our summer experiment and organized appropriate background information into a lesson plan geared towards students at the high school level. We tested the Data Nugget in Ms. Casal's chemistry class and made a few tweaks before submitting it to be reviewed. After several rounds of edits on our Data Nugget, it was accepted and is now available at on the Data Nugget web page. The review process was eye-opening and it took a lot of work to make sure our complex scientific data was appropriately translated into a digestible lesson plan. The whole process helped me both understand my data and communicate its meaning.

Are you interested in creating a Data Nugget? Have you already translated your scientific data into a format for K-12 students? Comment on your experiences below!

Our Data Nugget is listed on the Data Nugget website along with our scientist profiles.


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