Fall 2017 SAVI Online Magazine Emagazine Fall 2017 FINAL - Page 13

As their focus widened, the students’ questions multiplied, and things got interesting. “Data visualizations have become so rich and powerful in getting across information,” Pumphrey says. “It gives you a lot to talk about.” “One thing educators talk about all the time is curiosity, and how kids struggle to ask good questions,” Sidey says. “Data visualizations naturally lend themselves to asking questions. Students routinely asked “Just by projecting the data onto maps, and asking the students to look at it and come up with their own questions and observations about it—that was much more powerful than a lecture. Because they were really driven by their own interest in it.” — JANE SIDEY English Teacher Park Tudor things like, ‘I wonder why the divorce rate is higher here than here? I wonder why this area is much poorer than this area? I wonder why this area has lots of parks and green space?’ I mean, they were curious about everything from criminal records to levels of education.” Pumphrey and Sidey say their own pa ssion for the project was one key to the class’s success. It “definitely rubbed off on the students,” Pumphrey says. “Messing About with Maps” class participants insisted on a group photo for the SAVI magazine! “We were motivated and interested, and that helped them to be motivated and interested.” “We didn’t really have to teach,” Sidey says. “Just by projecting the data onto maps, and asking the students to look at it and come up with their own questions and observations about it—that was much more powerful than a lecture. Because they were really driven by their own interest in it.” One highlight of the first semester was a trip to The Polis Center at IUPUI, where students got to meet the people behind SAVI and flex their new critical-thinking muscles. “One of the kids actually asked, ‘What is the goal in doing this? What are you hoping to achieve?’” Sidey says. “And that’s a pretty sophisticated question for a seventh or eighth grader to ask: What is your agenda here? I’m not sure a question like that would have been asked if it had been a lecture-based class.” 13