April 24, 2020

(Baltimore, MD) Calling all students interested in science and art! The Baltimore Ecosystem Study’s Data Jam competition is a chance to explore scientific datasets and communicate the stories they tell through visual or performing arts.  Sing a song, make a video, paint a picture, write a children’s book – your imagination is the limit.

This year’s Data Jam will be 100% virtual. Stuck at home together? Your family can work as a team. Cash prizes will be awarded for the top middle school, high school, and family projects. Register by May 13 to participate. Cary Institute and Baltimore Ecosystem Study educators will be holding an informational webinar on the Family Data Jam on Tuesday, April 28 at 5pm. Register at: eventbrite.com/e/virtual-data-jam-for-families-becoming-eco-detectives-tickets-103232154152

The Data

Scientists are collecting data around us all the time. Hidden in those numbers are stories that reveal how the world works. Are birds arriving earlier in the spring? How does landcover impact stream chemistry?  Students can access these and many more ecology datasets online. BES educators can help students select an appropriate dataset; email Bess Caplan at caplanb@caryinstitute.org for assistance.

‘Family Data Jam’

In response to an increased need for distance learning, the 2020 Baltimore Data Jam Competition will be 100% virtual. To help facilitate, BES educators will be offering informational webinars and instructional videos for parents, students, and educators. The new ‘Family Data Jam’ category allows K-12 students and their family members to work on a project as a team.

The Competition

A panel consisting of a scientist, an artist, and an educator judges each Data Jam submission.  Cash prizes are awarded to the top middle and high school projects. A special prize will be awarded to our top Family Data Jam project submission.

Upcoming Webinar

Wondering how to pick a dataset? On April 28 at 5pm, Cary Institute and Baltimore Ecosystem Study educators will share the essentials of family data exploration. Learn how to access datasets from Cary Institute and Baltimore Ecosystem Study, choose an appropriate topic for your family team, use Google Sheets or Excel to explore your data, and tell a data ‘story’ using graphs.

What does the number of acorns on the forest floor have to do with tick populations? How does water chemistry differ between urban and suburban streams? Are migratory birds arriving earlier in the spring? The answers to these questions are hidden in scientific datasets – we just have to know how to look for them.

There are many exciting data stories to interpret and share. Join us to learn how to work with data and create a project that clearly communicates the data trends you discover.



For more information and to sign up for webinars: https://baltimoreecosystemstudy.org/data-jam/

We invite all Data Jammers to visit our Baltimore Ecosystem Study Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/BESlter/

To connect and share strategies, join the Data Jam Network Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/683710482429325/

If you have questions, email Bess Caplan at caplanb@caryinstitute.org, or message us through our Baltimore Ecosystem Study Facebook page (@BESlter).

Deadlines & Dates

May 13 – Competition registrations and parent/guardian consent forms due

May 27 – Project submissions due online by 11:59pm EST

June 19 – Virtual Data Jam Expo and Awards Ceremony, 5-7pm EST, to be held via Zoom