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“Data Science K-10 Big Ideas are descriptions of the most important content in data science through the grades to help focus attention on ways to increase data literacy. Big ideas are those that are central to the discipline of data science, and that link understandings into a coherent whole.”

Data Science Big Ideas is an area on the Youcubed site designed to support teachers of all subjects and at grade levels K-10  in teaching the big ideas of data science through activities connected to topics they are already teaching. Data Science Big Ideas features tasks and data talks (broken down by grade level) that help students experience the data cycle. The data cycle involves formulating statistical investigative questions, collecting and considering data, analyzing data, and interpreting and communicating results. 

Data talks are a great way to develop statistical literacy, practice math concepts, and teach about specific topics, all at the same time. And they do not require a lot of preparation on the part of the teacher. In fact, the teacher does not even have to be an expert in the subject of the data talk to facilitate it because modeling not knowing and investigating is part of the process! Specific guidance on facilitating data talks can be found here:

Here are some examples of data talks you will find at Data Science Big Ideas:

  • A grade 1-2 level data talk on hand washing. (Check out the data visualization—it may not be what you expect!)
  • A grade 3-5 level data talk on deforestation in the Amazon.
  • A grade 6-7 level data talk on housing, education, and wages that juxtaposes several graphs and maps that show data about income location, education level, employment status and more, providing opportunities for students to draw conclusions from multiple graphs—an important skill on the science and social studies HSE tests!
  • At the grade 6-7 level, you will also find a data task on Blue Whales using real interactive data collected by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute—a great task for exploring and interpreting scientific data. This is another skill that is important for the science HSE test!

Data Science Big Ideas also pulls together data tasks from around the web. One example is the Choosing the Band task at the grade 3-5 level found in the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education II (GAISE II) in which students collect and analyze survey data about their classmates’ musical preferences and use it to make a decision about what band to hire. (Note the task is found on the pages numbered 24–27 in the GAISE II, not the 24th–27th pages of the document.)

In a math class, resources featured on Data Science Big Ideas could be tied in to lessons on reading and interpreting data, using data to make decisions, and representations of data. As you can see from the above data talk examples, the resources can also be connected to the life sciences and to social studies.

Topic Area
Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Teaching
Digital Literacy
Mathematics and Adult Numeracy
Social Studies
Media Type
Resource Type
PD Center
SABES Mathematics and Adult Numeracy Curriculum and Instruction PD Center