Welcome to PLIX DataBasic! This activity aims to promote data literacy concepts in safe, engaging, familiar ways.
✋ Extended Interaction 🥰 Ages 8+ 🕐 1–1.5 Hours 👩👦👦 up to 30 Participants 🍎 1–2 Facilitators 🎨 Craft Materials
Patrons learn about asking questions, gathering data, analyzing data, and telling their story. This is also great for internal professional development opportunities for staff.
Each is composed of three different elements:
- A conversation about different types of data and data collection
- An activity designed to give participants hands-on experiences with the topic.
- A come-together activity, where participants share their work and reflect on what they've learned.
By creating this series of activities, we aim to:
- Provide learners of all ages with new skills to interpret and understand data.
- Facilitate the development a critical eye—fit for thinking about data privacy, consent, and ethics—as well as an ability to imagine more safe and equitable futures for data collection and usage.
- Leverage local news and datasets for fostering civic involvement.
In Your Library…
Some ideas for bringing these activities to your library include:
- Pick out datasets or questions that correspond to a theme or holiday at your library right now, like climate data for Earth Month or candy data for Halloween 🎃
- Adapt the activities for a drop-in style public event where participants can add to the sculpture or spreadsheet as they go by 👩🎨
- Try these activities with your staff as a professional development opportunity and get used to working with and talking about data 🤝
Suggested Timing: 30 minutes
Get people thinking about data and privacy, as well as get to know each other! Have participants fill out a large paper spreadsheet with some information about them. To plan your workshop, start by going through DataBasic's guide on filling in a paper spreadsheet. Then, consider a few ways to host this in a library setting:
- Could this be a good warmup activity for a program you are running?
- What themes/events are happening at your library right now that could help you tailor your questions?
- How can you change this event based on the age of participants?
As well as the examples given in the guide, some other questions we've asked participants in our workshops are:
- # of Pets
- Favorite season
- Have you read [insert popular book series]?
- Astrological sign
- Favorite color
Suggested Timing: 1 hour
Engage participants in a playful activity to make a 3D data representation to tell a story. To plan your workshop, start by going through DataBasic's guide on building data sculptures. This is good activity to help people get started working with data and representing it in different ways. Then, consider a few ways to host this in a library setting:
- Could this activity fit into another program/series you are running?
- How will you pick datasets to be relevant for your community?
- How could you make this a drop-in activity?
Below are a few examples of datasets or news stories you could use with your participants (last updated April 29, 2020):
- Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics from the American Pet Products Association
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index Average Price Data for various staple foods since 1980
- Check out data from the US Census
- Here’s When You Should Stop Trick-Or-Treating from Five Thirty Eight (Please note: The views expressed here do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the PLIX team.)
- Your local government may have datasets available to the public!
What We ❤️ About This activity
🌱 Fosters a welcoming environment to learn data literacy These activities have been designed to provide learners of all ages with new skills to interpret and understand data in familiar and approachable ways.
🗯 Supports important conversations around data privacy, consent, and ethics.
🔦 Offers the chance to explore data through creation Activities encourage hands-on crafting and encourage participants to think beyond charts and graphs as ways of representing information.
👨👨👧👧 Encourages peer collaboration and discussion Participants work together to interpret and tell stories with data.
📊 Promotes civic engagement, as participants learn and interact with locally relevant news, information, and datasets.
About PLIX DataBasic
This activity was developed as part of a 2018 PLIX Residency Exchange between Rahul Bhargava from the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab and Amanda Feist and Xenia Hernandez from Saint Paul Public Library. The Analog Spreadsheet and Data Sculptures were part of a PLIX Residency Exchange with the St. Paul Public Library.
Accompanying DataBasic is the Data Culture Project, activities created to foster data-friendly communities. Check out all of DataBasic and the Data Culture Project at databasic.io.
Other ways to engage with the PLIX DataBasic program
- Questions? Ask them on the PLIX Discussion Forum 🙋♀️
- Share your experience running this activity on Twitter or Instagram and tag us @heyplix
The Public Library Innovation Exchange (PLIX) is a project of the MIT Media Lab Digital Learning & Collaboration Studio. Except where otherwise noted, all materials on this site are licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Accessibility.