Lawrence Hall of Science - Building Data Science Apps to teach Data Science

The project goal will be to develop a number of digital applications designed to help people of all ages learn about different data science concepts, like statistics and ML algorithms, by providing learners with intuitive examples and interactions. These applications can then be used at the Lawrence Hall of Science to engage museum visitors in learning experience around data science and be incorporated into other Lawrence Hall of Science programs.

See our work here

The Lawrence Hall of Science offers hands-on science exhibits, designs curriculums, and offers all kinds of after school science resources to students of all ages. A supervisor that works at the Lawrence Hall of Science, Tim Hurt, was looking for a few students that would be interested in creating some kind of platform that would offer more insight on the world of Data Science. Data Science is an emerging field and is not really widely known amongst a lot of people, especially the younger community. It has really only been a fresh field in the last few years, even considering that UC Berkeley has only had the Data Science major for about 4 years now. The tech industry has opened up wide doors to data science and those entering the field, and there is very high demand for all sorts of companies or start-ups for Data Scientists and/or Data Analysts (there are a variety of titles for this field). So, this project is trying to find a starting solution for the problem that our education system is lacking, knowledge in the computer sciences, specifically data science. Every company/organization probably to ever exist collects, maintains, uses and maybe sometimes redistributes data, and always have many questions to answer regarding their data: who is using their tool/service/product, where are people making the purchase(s) from, what age group is using it? There are a countless number of questions that companies and organizations, even our own government, try to answer to further their production process and to see if what they are doing works or doesn’t, if things need to be changed, really just to overall be able to continue running successfully. There is so much data in our world that needs to be controlled, analyzed, etc. that it is our job to introduce to the world what Data Science is really all about. We decided to come up with a simple website that world provide a couple of interactive data science “games” or activities that would let younger age groups understand the concept of data science, and then provide more resources for them to be able to learn more if they are interested and curious. So, this was not a typical data science research project, it was more a website development project but for the idea of being able to teach data science. Unfortunately, we had a team member drop the project a few weeks into the project, so we were down 1 person who had the most knowledge on the language that we used to build the site, so we faced a few obstacles in terms of learning a new development language. But that was actually the best part because we ourselves were able to learn along the way of developing the site, so really in the end we got such a great benefit from this little project. There is definitely a lot of work that will need to be put into this site because it is only in its beginning stages, but we were so glad to be able to produce it from the ground up, especially since our supervisor had no prior knowledge to this type of work and language. There needs to be another experience/activity that will need to be decided by our supervisor Tim, and probably a bit more text to support the activities describing the purposes of what is being done and what is exactly being presented in data science terms. What is good about this site is it can always be edited, added on to, delete items, and so on, so we were so happy to be able to get this started and hopefully others in the future will just be able to continue on from where we left off with no problem.

By Inola Cohen and Vihaan Manchanda