Make Your Own Dear Data Postcard!

In the next few classes, you will be making your own Dear Data postcard. You will be considering variability in your day-to-day experience around the topic of your choice and how to capture this variability. Here are Dear Data Project Examples (Slide 1 and Slide 2).

This will be our first time of many during this course of working through the data science process. Share the slide containing the visual of the data science process. 

The Data Science Process involves these components:

  • Ask questions 
  • Gather and organize data 
  • Model
  • Analyze and synthesize
  • Communicate data

Note to teacher

Visuals are a data science tool that can support multiple parts of this process. You could make a visual in many steps of this process and they can serve different purposes.

This is an iterative process that includes feedback, revision and refinement at every stage.  

In this next project we will be working through the whole data science process. You will decide which question you will ask, make a plan for gathering data and then gather data, model your data by creating a data visual, get feedback on your visual, make revisions based on feedback, analyze and synthesize your data by considering what you can learn from your visual, and communicate your findings. The feedback and revision process are aspects of the iterative nature of this process.

Dear Data Final Project Overview (Handout 2) is a handout that summarizes this project. The next sections of the lesson plan will walk you through the process of the project step by step. You can choose to share the handout with students now or at any point during the project to give them an overview of the project. Let them know however that you will walk through the sections of the project as a class. When you share the project overview you can also share the project criteria.

Materials Required

Dear Data Project Examples

Handout 2 - Dear Data Final Project Overview

Handout 2 Criteria and Feedback Rubric


Plan Your Data Gathering

Share the slide with the data science process. Let students know that in this class, they will begin by deciding on a question they will ask (arrow 1) and then they will make a plan for how they will gather data (arrow 2). Ask students in their groups to brainstorm some ideas for questions they could ask and explore from their lives and then gather data around. Generate a class list of topics or questions students could explore. (Discussion Brainstorm Slide)

Set students up to work in pairs to choose a question and plan their data gathering in the activity Planning your Dear Data Project (Handout 3)

Note to teacher

We have written the activities for this project for pairs. We would like students to be with the same partner for the whole project so they can have support for their topic throughout the project. If you are concerned that there might be absences throughout the project, you can put students in groups of three. Although students are working together, they are each working on their own topic and project. It is OK if they end up choosing the same topic, but this is not the expectation for all students.

As partners are wrapping up their work together, have them share their slideshow with you. Check that they have created slides that share their topic or question and reasoning why they are exploring the topic or question and their plan for how they will gather data. Refer students to Dear Data Final Project Overview and Planning Dear Data Project handouts for details and ideas on what to include.

Materials Required

Handout 3: Planning Dear Data Project

Handout 2: Dear Data Final Project Overview

Gather (at home/school)

Gather Data

Set students up to continue their data gathering over the next few days based on their revisions. Let them know when they will be bringing their final set of data to class. Over the next few days set aside a few minutes each day to check-in with students about their data gathering: see what questions students have and if they have any issues they need help resolving.