Teaching Data Viz to Second Graders

In December 2013 I had the chance to visit my friend Louisa’s 2nd grade classroom to co-teach a lesson on data visualization. The students had previously created some graphs. My goal in this lesson was to introduce them to somre more complex visualizations online, and help them think critically about these visualizations.

The class was super fun, and the students were quite engaged. I was impressed by some of their comments and questions, especially in response to questions about where the data came from. In particular, on the Racial Dot Map one student noted that her family wouldn’t have been included because they hadn’t yet moved to the US in 2010. Another student asked about the homeless or people in jail.

Comparing/contrasting the main visualization to another visualization with related data also worked well. It gave some context for what other choices could be made, both in terms of the data (ex: ancestry vs race) and the visual encoding (ex: colors vs black/white on the wind maps, or qualitative vs quantitative encoding).

The worksheet is here. If you do use it, let me know how it goes!