I was listening to a podcast hosted by Steven D. Levitt, author of Freakonomics, and he made a pretty profound statement. Levitt stated that “Most high-school math classes are still preparing students for the Sputnik Era.” 

So what is data science? According to UC Berkeley, “Effective data scientists are able to identify relevant questions, collect data from a multitude of different data sources, organize the information, translate results into solutions, and communicate their findings in a way that positively affects decisions.” Decision-making is needed in all aspects of business, so individuals that are comfortable with interpreting, analyzing and questioning data in order to make data-focused decisions. According to Forbes, the demand for data scientists has increased by 28 percent over the last decade and has been rated the “Best Job in America” for the last three years.

How can we begin to introduce data science into high school math? The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a grant from the National Science Foundation created Introduction to Data Science (IDS) as a way to integrate data science into the high school math curriculum.

The IDS curriculum can be freely downloaded at:

https://www.introdatascience.org/introduction-to-data-science-curriculum

Another free data science program is Bootstrap, which makes material and modules that can be used in high school math to introduce students to the field of data science.

Bootstrap material can be freely downloaded at:

https://www.bootstrapworld.org/materials/spring2020/courses/data-science/en-us/


— Steve McHugh, Northwest AEA Math Consultant