Friday, March 21, 2014

Chopin Elementary School Outreach Visit

This past Thursday, Gina Cardosi (a project manager at IBM) and I visited Ms. Caraba's 8th grade social studies class to present City Forward, a free, web-based platform that enables users to view and interact with city data while engaging in an ongoing public dialogue.

To help break the ice, we started the visit off with a Scattergories game. Working in pairs, the students were - in a minute's time - asked to come up with as many Chicago street names, famous Chicago landmarks, and things to do in Chicago that started with a given letter. When given the letter B, for example, students came up with great inputs such as "Belmont", "(the) Bean", "(playing) baseball", etc.

The activity helped the students think about the City of Chicago - its different aspects and characteristics....and was a great segway into Gina's demonstration of the City Forward site. The students saw that - through the site - they could also gather all sorts of different information on a city: its GDP, population size, education attainment levels, etc. Additionally, they could compare different cities and city data.

Playing around on the site themselves (luckily, the students in this class had iPads!) and through Gina's demonstration, students saw that greater education attainment levels correlate with higher wages, Romania males generally receive more schooling than Romanian females, unemployment rates spiked during the 2008 economic crisis, and more.

It was a great visit and the students seem well on their way to being data scientists. We can't wait to see all their great inventions!

In the meantime, check out some pictures from the visit:

Gina passing out the Scattergories game 

The students are deep in thought thinking up answers for the Scattergories ice breaker

 The students are listening intently as Gina presents the City Forward site

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