Museum Makers: Designing With Data
This guide describes what took place during NYSCI’s Big Data for Little Kids workshop series, Museum Makers: Designing With Data. In addition to detailed outlines of the activities implemented during the program, this guide includes a glossary of recurrent terms and resources used throughout the workshops.
In 2017, as part of a National Science Foundation funded project, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) set out to teach Big Data concepts to children ages 4 – 8 years old. NYSCI developed and piloted an after-school program for families to utilize the data cycle as a method of informed decision-making that embodied NYSCI’s Design, Make, Play approach to learning. Design emphasizes problem solving and intentionality, and helps you see the possibilities in the world; Make invites you to be hands-on with materials, tools and processes, and nurtures the development of skills and confidence; and Play promotes intrinsic motivation and deep engagement. All of these elements allow for open-ended exploration, innovation, imaginative learning and self-efficacy — elements that inspire passionate learners, critical thinkers and active citizens.
Using NYSCI’s own exhibit floor as a place of study, children and their families worked together to collect a variety of data on NYSCI’s exhibits, and then analyzed their collected data in order to answer the overarching question: “What is missing from NYSCI’s exhibit floor?” After identifying the problem, children designed a solution that was relevant to them, interacted with an assortment of materials and tools to make their exhibit, and ultimately engaged in a variety of playful activities that promoted data literacy.
Throughout the workshops, instructors used diverse styles of data collection to create a context and purpose for the families to answer questions, analyze information, and ultimately work together to make an informed decision based on the data collected over the course of each workshop.