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Middle and High School Teachers and Students

The NES-LTER Schoolyard program engages Middle (MS) and High School (HS) teachers and students with our research and data, linking ecosystem questions to the core curriculum and science practices in the classroom. Led by education specialist, Annette Brickley, the Schoolyard currently focuses on curricula supporting student data literacy-- analyzing and interpreting data, from beginner to advanced. The Data Jam model, highlighted in NSTA Journal The Science Teacher (Sep. 2018), is like a science fair, except the students aren't collecting the data, but using our data. They interpret what they see and communicate their data story creatively and artistically. 

In school year 2019-2020, we offered outreach webinars, 2 teacher-at-sea opportunities (Research Experience for Teachers - RET), our second student Data Jam competition, and to meet the needs of teaching on-line during Covid-19, we added a Mini Data Jam. The Mini Data Jam has the same creative project, a reduced science report, and a category for Family Jams, working together at home. Current and past student winners can be found on the Data Jam site, Winners Ring.

Because of Covid 19 precautions, our 2020 Summer Transect Cruise went out with a reduced crew, our 2020 Research Experience for Teachers (RET) ocean-going participant, Molly Sorrows from Luther Burbank Middle School in Lancaster, MA, was not able to join. However, she did join us for the Student Meeting on July 31 to hear graduate students report out on their cruise work. Ms. Sorrows had 72 students enter the Data Jam.

Next Launch

To continue our support to teachers and students with data literacy skills, we are offering periodic online workshops in series, entitled "Singing & Dancing with Data".  Each workshop provides teachers with options to help scaffold data analysis and interpretation activities. Workshop invitations have reached a broad audience across the US as well as Puerto Rico and Mauritania!

RET DWelty operating winch

drweltyfhs  While controlling the winch to deploy the Stingray with the ISIIS shadow graph plankton imaging system, Research Experience for Teachers, Aug 2019. 

Related Information

"Watching my students work in their groups to try to figure out what the data was about and then debate how they were going to present their ideas was a great learning experience in how to let go and let inquiry happen."  M. Sorrows, Luther Burbank MS

How to be a part of our schoolyard--

  • To join our private mailing list, hear about connected teaching/learning opportunities, and be a part of the NES-LTER Schoolyard, please sign up here. (your contact information will remain private)
  • To be eligible for an RET experience, engage in our webinars and Schoolyard opportunities, including Data Jam.

Graduate student Jacob Strock tending a line during a CTD/rosette deployment on Endeavor cruise EN608. (Photo by E. Taylor Crockford)

Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Undergraduate and graduate students involved in NES-LTER research gain valuable training not only in field, lab, analytical, and data management skills, but also in collaborating in a multi-investigator/multi-disciplinary project. We offer summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) at WHOI, and there are additional opportunities for undergraduate students through the University of Rhode Island (URI) and Wellesley College. Also, NES-LTER hosted a fellow for the Environmental Data Initiative (EDI) 2019 Summer Fellowship Program. See our presentation highlighting NES-LTER undergraduate research: Also, NES-LTER participated in the Project EDDIE Module Development Workshop to develop classroom activities for undergraduate students using large long-term and high-frequency datasets.


Undergraduate student Elizabeth Lambert donning an immersion suit during a safety drill on Endeavor cruise EN608, assisted by postdoctoral researcher Francoise Morison. Image credit Stace Beaulieu, WHOI

Listen » undergraduate student Elizabeth Lambert describing the experience of a first research cruise.

Listen » to more students sharing about experiences on their first research cruise.

Audio credits Stace Beaulieu, WHOI.

Science on a Sphere

An important component of our education/public outreach efforts will be creating new data sets and live programs for NOAA's Science On a Sphere® (SOS). The SOS is a room-sized, digital globe often on display in its own auditorium for docent-led presentations of stories incorporating geo-referenced datasets. The SOS is used at over 165 science centers in more than 25 countries around the world.

(Image credit Will von Dauster/NOAA.)