2018 Hudson Data Jam Competition

Making data "sing" through creative expression

Now in its fifth year, the Hudson Data Jam Competition challenges students to creatively tell the science stories of the Hudson River watershed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Please feel free to contact the Cary Institute Education Office if you have any questions about the project or competition. 845-677-7600 x 303 – caryeducation@caryinstitute.org


Are Cary Institute educators available to help?

Yes. Cary Institute educators are delighted to answer any questions you may have via e-mail at caryeducation@caryinstitute.org. Depending on our availability, we may also be able to visit your classroom to help with projects.

Can I register and participate independently of my teacher or class?

Yes.  Any middle or high school student or student team is eligible to participate.  You do not have to register through your teacher. You do, however, need to have an adult represent your team as a team advisor. This can be a parent or another trusted adult.

Am I guaranteed to receive a classroom visit if I register my class for the Data Jam?

Not necessarily. We would like to provide classroom support to all interested teachers, but our time and resources are limited. To increase your chances of receiving in-class support, be sure to register for Data Jam by February 1.

What do the different dataset levels mean?

The simple answer is this:

  • Level 1= Easy,
  • Level 2= Moderate
  • Level 3=Challenging

Dataset levels are derived by looking at the number of factors in the dataset and by the sheer amount of data collected. Most middle schoolers will be most successful with a Level 1 or 2 dataset, and the appropriate level for your high schoolers depends on the data experience and determination of the students. If you’re having trouble selecting an appropriate dataset for your students please drop us a line.


I need to submit my parental consent forms. How can I send it in?

You can send us your parental consent forms by e-mail (caryeducation@caryinstitute.org) or snail mail (Shelly Forster, Cary Institute, P.O. Box AB, Millbrook, NY, 12545).


How do I submit projects?

Projects are submitted to the “Hudson Data Jam 2018 Submissions Google Drive folder”. You will directly upload projects to your class’ folder. All written or visual files must be submitted as a PDF, and all videos must be submitted as a YouTube link. See the website for specific instructions.

Why do projects need to be submitted online?

All projects must be submitted online because judging for merit prizes takes place online. This means that all of the files you submit online must clearly show your project in its entirety because that is how the judges will see it. If you create a 3-D object, send us lots of photos so we can see it from all angles!

If projects are submitted and judged online, do students still need to present their projects at the Expo?

It's not required, but all winners will be announced at the Data Jam Expo. By attending this event, students will also have the chance to win the People's Choice Award and door prizes.

What file formats can I use to upload my materials on the project submission website?

To make life easier for our judges, all files except videos must be in PDF format. If you would like to submit a video, upload to YouTube as a private (or public) video and submit the link.

How should my students present their creative data display digitally so they can submit it online?

It's up to them to determine the best way to view their project online. Remember, the judges will be determining the merit prize winners based on what you upload online, so be sure that they include a narrative description of pieces as needed. Take a look at our 2014-2017 Winning Projects for ideas about how to display their work digitally.

In the past, we found that most students chose to either photograph or video record their work. Students took photographs of their comic strips, dioramas, sculptures, and paintings. Students recorded YouTube videos of their interactive displays, choreographed dances, puppet shows, movies, original songs, and stop-motion videos.


Are my students required to attend the Data Jam Expo?

No. Students are still eligible to receive merit prizes regardless of their attendance at the Data Jam Expo. However, the door prizes and the People's Choice Awards will only be given to students present at the Data Jam Expo. All prize winners will be announced at the event and on the Data Jam Facebook page shortly after the event.

I live far away from the Expo. Are there any scholarships available to help fund my travel to the Data Jam Expo?

Pending funding, travel scholarships will be available for students who live over 40 miles away and demonstrate financial need. Send us an e-mail at caryeducation@caryinstitute.org for more information about travel scholarships.

What should students bring to the Data Jam Expo?

We ask that they create a tri-fold poster board display (no larger than 36" tall by 48" wide) that contains all of the components of the report. This should look very similar to a science fair poster display and make it easy for visitors to see the information in the report. In addition, students should bring all of the materials they need to present their creative data display. If they submitted a YouTube video, they might want to bring a laptop computer and a pair of headphones for visitors to watch and listen to the video. Be sure to bring any computer chargers or electrical equipment needed. We will have tables and electric outlets available.

Students are also encouraged to bring their family and friends to the event. This is their chance to show off their work and also see the work of other students in the competition.


When is the next Data Jam workshop for teachers?

Visit our “Professional Development” page to check our workshop schedule or sign up to receive email updates through our Ecosystem Teaching Newsletter.

Am I required to participate in one of the workshops in order to have my students participate?

No. These workshops are optional and are provided to support you as you support your students.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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