Boosting Students’ Data Literacy

Image credit: Mark Scheuern / Alamy


Here I talk about a couple strategies I developed to weave graphs into any lesson and make those graphs interesting to students by turning them into enigmas. The article links out to several Galactic Polymath lessons where I used these techniques.


I truly believe that data literacy is literacy in the Information Age. Increasingly, we are inundated with conflicting claims about products, medical treatments, the weather—you name it—and it’s tough to make the right decision. To make a rational, optimal choice requires us to be data literate—to be able to understand the nature of how data is collected and visualized in a variety of different formats.

Unfortunately, most standards don’t put an adequate emphasis on data literacy, given its importance in modern society. The good news is, there’s a way to take a lesson on pretty much any topic and add an authentic data element, and there are ways to use these graphs to build student engagement….

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