Postcard 8 – Data Jam

Communicate science with a Data Jam

Dear Explorer:

In our final research club meeting, you will be doing the most important part of our work together – communicating what we have learned through a Data Jam. Please:

Review the rules for how we Data Jam including watching What is data? video.

Brainstorm ways that you can share what you have learned with your family, friends, and community.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Please share what you have done!

Thank you and see you on the next research mission,

Dr Megan Cimino and the Research Team
Data Jam

1. Start brainstorming your Data Jam

Credit: Unsplash

Your mission: Develop your own creative and artistic interpretation of this data to present to your community. Using your creativity, communicate the trend you see in the data. 

The best way to come up with a creative Data Jam is to think about your hobbies and interests. So to start…

Think about your interests: What do you like doing?

Think about your skills: What do you do well?


Write down a few quick creative ideas that might use your hobbies or interests to the datasets we have been using.

2. Let’s review… What is data?

We have looked at a lot of numbers, but data does not have to look like graphs and charts. Watch the video below to learn more.

3. Check out an example Data Jam

If you’re wondering what a Data Jam could look like, in this example, we’re going to show how you could create a Data Jam with a Mural that shows the long-term data trend in penguin populations.

First, come up with a “scale” to represent the number of penguins at each point in time you want to show. This could be a numerical representation (like 1 paper penguin equal 10 real penguins) or you could use color to show values.

Second, print the cutouts below or draw your own versions of Adelie, Gentoo, and Chinstrap Penguins. Color and decorate your penguins according to the scale you came up with.

Third, paste the penguins on your mural based on the year and the scale you created.

Below is an example mural that a club created to to show the counts of all 3 penguin species for 4 different years:

In this case, they determined that 1 Penguin picture = 100 Breeding Pairs. If you used a similar scale, for the 1995 section of your mural you should have about 110 Adelie Penguin pictures. That’s a lot of penguins!               

4. Now its your turn!

Go back to your list of hobbies, interests, and skills. Think about which ones you want to showcase in your Data Jam. Use your talents to create your own unique project that uses ratios to represent the penguin population data.

After you have created your project, think about how you would explain your project to your friends and family:

  • What is going on?
  • What is this mural showing us?
  • What would you ask the scientists if they were here looking at this mural?
  • What other information do you wish you had?

Happy Jamming!