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Using primary literature to teach data literacy

Author(s): Bridget Conneely

HHMI BioInteractive

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Presentation by Bridget Conneely made as part of the "Bringing Research Data to the Ecology Classroom: Opportunities, Barriers, and Next Steps” Session at the Ecological Society of American annual meeting, August 8th, 2017 Portland Oregon

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 15 Aug 2017 doi:10.25334/Q4G661 - cite this





    Reading and interpreting primary literature is a core skill required of undergraduate science students. However, there are few teaching resources available to help students to develop and refine this skill. In particular, interpreting figures in primary literature can be a challenge for students unfamiliar with various statistical and data visualization techniques. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) BioInteractive group produces educational resources for life science students. A new resource, called “Data Points” is a monthly series that features a figure from primary literature to engage students in the process of interpreting graphs. The goal of this resource is to provide educators with a variety of graph types and topic areas to choose from to teach curricular concepts while providing students with opportunities to develop graph interpretation skills. HHMI collaborates with AAAS Science in the Classroom, which provides annotated versions of select Science publications. HHMI multimedia resources and paper activities, including Data Points, are paired with the annotated paper to provide a rich suite of educational resources to teach undergraduate ecology students data literacy skills.


    This presentation will focus on specific examples of how to use data points and Science in the Classroom annotated papers to teach ecological concepts and data literacy skills. Two such examples are paired annotated papers Science papers and data points on coral bleaching and forest loss that provide multiple entry points to teaching data literacy. Additional data points will be presented on the topics of niche partitioning, dead zones, and invasion fronts. Participants will receive concrete examples of free resources that can they can implement to enhance their students’ data literacy skills.

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