As schools throughout Maryland close in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, it can be difficult for teachers to provide distance-learning options. Because all of our datasets can be accessed on the Baltimore Ecosystem Study website and all project submissions and judging occur online, students may find they are able to see their Data Jam experience to completion, independently, from home. However, we are working to ensure that students receive adequate support during the Data Jam process, both from their teachers and from Baltimore Ecosystem Study Education staff.  All Baltimore Data Jam participants are welcome to contact Education Program Leader Bess Caplan ( at any time to discuss questions or concerns. 



Final Registration – May 1, 2020

Parent Permission Forms Due – May 15, 2020

Projects Due – May 22, 2020

Winners Announced – June 5, 2020

Competition Background

Baltimore is the focus of exciting and groundbreaking research on cities. For the past 22 years, scientists with the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) have been studying the city and its surroundings as a socio-ecological system, or ecosystem. This pioneering research encompasses nearly every aspect of the city – its people, its soils, plants, animals and microbes, its history, institutions, economy and neighborhoods and its waters, airs and even the ground beneath our feet.

The wealth of data about this region is tremendous. In fact, many urban scientists consider Baltimore the most intensively studied city in the world! We now are working harder than ever to find new, creative ways to summarize and present these data to non-scientist audiences.

The Baltimore Data Jam Competition has been designed to let teachers and their students, and now entire families use creativity and skills to find interesting ways to present some of these data and other results in a friendly, educational and competitive atmosphere.

Projects will be judged on two submissions: 1) a written report; and 2) a creative and unique project (physical model, skit, song, visual representation, etc.). Judging criteria include a review of the report and its components, accuracy of data trends and comparisons, and overall creativity. As you will see, the Baltimore Data Jam emphasizes creativity in presenting data. These are the very skills that are and will continue to be necessary as our ability to collect data outpaces our ability to make it understandable to the general public.

New this year – the Family Data Jam! Rather than submitting separate projects for the middle and high school categories, siblings of different ages can instead work together on a single project. Elementary-age students can also participate with guidance from older siblings or guardians. Project groups can be as small as one child and one adult. Family Data Jam allows parents or guardians to be more involved with Data Jamming, offering their own data interpretations, computer skills, or artistic input. Family Data Jam project submissions require only one graph with a paragraph-long interpretation and a creative project with a brief explanation. A special award will be granted to our top Family project. Please refer to our Family Data Jam rubric for details

Click below to access links to pages for


rules and regulations



data sets

past winning projects

family data jam

Congratulations to our 2019 Winning Projects

High School

1st Place ($500)- Just Wingin It – Hereford High

2nd Place ($300) – Food Deserts: An Ever Growing Problem in Baltimore City – Western School of Technology and Environmental Science

3rd Place ($100) – The Unexpected Consequences of Imprudent Zoning Policies in Baltimore City – Western School of Technology and Environmental Science

Middle School Participation Award ($100)

Yeeterino Bois

Director’s Choice – Tickets to local Baltimore attractions

Examining the Dead Run 5 Watershed – Western School of Technology and Environmental Science

Thank you to our 2020 Sponsors

National Science Foundation

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

M&T Bank