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How to teach data science in K-12 schools? Stanford-led team launches “Big Ideas”

A team of scholars led by Stanford professor Jo Boaler introduces standards for students from kindergarten to high school.

Amid a growing push for schools to better prepare young people to navigate a world awash in data, a team of scholars led by Stanford Graduate School of Education Professor Jo Boaler has introduced a groundbreaking tool for educators: “Big Ideas in Data Science,” a proposed set of standards for teaching data science to students in kindergarten through tenth grade.

“School districts are starting to recognize the need for students to develop data literacy, and policymakers are calling for more attention to it,” said Boaler, the Nomellini and Olivier Professor of Education at Stanford and co-founder of youcubed, an organization providing resources for math learning. “But no standards had been developed to guide schools and teachers.”

The new tool produced by Boaler and her team, with Rob Gould, vice chair of the department of statistics at UCLA, offers classroom tasks, discussion topics and teaching advice for all grade levels from kindergarten through tenth grade. Tailored for each grade level, the “Big Ideas” are designed to be incorporated into a broader curriculum, connecting data science concepts to content already taught in the classroom. 

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