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Middle and High School Teachers and Students

NES Data Jam logo

Let's Jam!

Students get creative and are challenged!

The skills of understanding, interpreting, and presenting data are essential in a world where our ability to collect data outpaces our ability to make it understandable.

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 focuses on curricula supporting student data literacy-- analyzing and interpreting data, from beginner to advanced.

The Data Jam emphasizes creativity in presenting data about the ocean and climate. The data has already been collected-- by scientists, on oceanographic research cruises, south of Cape Cod. It's the real thing! Students give it their best shot, analyzing, interpreting, and communicating the story they think the data are telling.

The catch for students is to present their work creatively: as a compelling data-based story or message for the general public through song, dance, paint, or wherever their passions lead them. In the past years, among the projects we've had a video game, a cake, plays, puppet shows, dances, and a storybook.

You can get students Data Jamming as a class project or after school activity (requiring 8+ hours). There are 3 different levels offered, making it doable by MS or HS students. All teachers will be supported through an introductory workshop, webinar offerings, personal support, and even online classroom support.  You can choose between the "Full Jam" or the "Mini Jam" formats when you submit projects before Mar 15.

Current and past student winners can be found on the Data Jam site, Winners Ring. Teachers and advisors who support student participation in the Data Jam are eligible to participate in our Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program which includes going to sea with our team during summer and/or winter transect cruises.

pages from a homemade book about whales and copepods

Sometimes analyzing and interpreting data can be shared as an actual story! Sample pages from a Mini Jam project based on the dataset about Right whale calf numbers, copepod abundance, and chlorophyll. G.7, Blake MS

Related Information

"We’ve never had a project that entailed so much thinking outside the box and we faced challenges that we had to solve for ourselves instead of relying on a resource or a teacher. Also, there were multiple times throughout the project where we got stuck, and felt as though what we were thinking was far from what was actually happening. We were able to work through
this process with research and making other hypotheses that lead to our thinking now."

G.8 student reflections on their Data Jam experience, Teacher: C. Adamson, FA Day Middle School, Newton, MA

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.

Bethany Fowler is a PhD student with Heidi Sosik and Michael Neubert at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Bethany's research is on the population dynamics of pico-phytoplankton on the Northeast U.S. continental shelf. She shares about her research and some of the things she loves about working on the NES team.

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.

For undergraduates, we offer summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) at WHOI, with additional opportunities through the University of Rhode Island (URI) and Wellesley College. NES has also hosted a fellow for the Environmental Data Initiative (EDI) Summer Fellowship Program. To build data skills, NES joined the Project EDDIE Module Development Workshop to promote the use of large long-term and high-frequency datasets by undergraduate students. To learn more, see our videos highlighting NES-LTER undergraduate research. NES enthusiastically embraces the participation of undergraduates from traditionally underrepresented students in the marine sciences through additional programs as part of our JEDI efforts.

Our graduate students include both Masters and PhD candidates who work directly with our PI's and Post-docs to pose research questions, collect and manage data, and play integral roles in monthly NES All-Team meetings. NES supports graduate and early career scientists with a mentoring program to promote JEDI in the marine sciences.


We're building a story about the connectedness of the Northeast U.S. Shelf ecosystem and how it is responding to changes over time. That story depends on collaboration among scientists, sharing ideas and gathering ideas from and with students, and looking for patterns of change and stability. Open science and open data make it all shareable at all levels. Many of our project outreach efforts are focused on making data and research visible to the public. Watch for our stories on social media channels to learn more about what it takes to collect, analyze, interpret, and communicate our data-driven story about the dynamic Northeast U.S. Shelf ecosystem.

NES LTER Field Trip: StingRay and Shadowgraph Imaging on Research Cruises

Click on the links below to get started following our stories!

  YouTube NES-LTER    

   Twitter @NES_LTER   

Hashtag #NESLTER

Long-term sampling, team-member, stories of change 👍👍👍@NSF @RynearsonLab

Our spring transect cruise (Yes!) is rolling along. Follow the RV Endeavor, our team, and the offshore weather

To build data literacy skills of all ages, visitors to the @BPZoo helped us make a data quipu. Colored fabric strips represent mean annual SST and beads on the strips represent the mean lat of the lobster catch (NMFS trawl survey data) @USLTER @NSF

Congrats to our 2024 Data Jam Winners!
First Place- Mini Jam: Mission: Save the Whales!
Vaishnavi S, g.7, Blake MS (Medfield, MA), Advisors- K Buley/M Thevanathan @USLTER @NSF

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