2016 Hudson Data Jam Competition

Making data "sing" through creative expression


Now in its third year, the Hudson Data Jam Competition challenges students to creatively tell stories for a general audience using data from the Hudson River watershed.

For Teachers

For Teachers

The Hudson Data Jam Competition is a STEAM program in which students interpret data in a creative way. Teachers of any subject can get their students involved.  Whether your students focus on historical trends, scientific poetry, or creative mathematical visualizations, we’d like to support you as you help your students enter and win this competition. 

New for teachers this year:

  • We know how unwieldly it can be to interpret a scientific data set, especially if you weren't involved in the data collection. We're here to answer your questions, and as an added incentive for early registration this year we're offering a limited number of classroom visits to help students analyze their data. Teachers will need to register their classrooms by February 1 to be eligible for in-classroom support. However, teachers who miss the deadline will still be able to receive online support or attend teacher workshops.
  • We are requiring students to produce their own graphs this year. The online data sets no longer have graphs for the students to use. If you would like to see a collection of sample graphs that correspond with each data set, email caryeducation@caryinstitute.org for access to the Teachers-Only graphing resources site.
  • We've ranked the datasets from Level 1 (easy) to Level 4 (very challenging). Projects will be scored using the Data Jam rubric, then will receive a scaling bonus that corresponds to the level. Level 4 projects are eligible for the highest scale bonus because they will use extremely difficult datasets. Students should choose a dataset from a level appropriate to their skills, as their ability to produce a high-quality project at any level is more important to their overall score than the scaling bonus at that level.


If you want to get your students involved in the competition…

Step 1: Familiarize yourself.

Peruse this website to become more familiar with the Hudson Data Jam Competition.  Be sure to check out our section for students, so you can have an idea of what the process will be for them.

Step 2: Attend a workshop.

We are offering (free) workshops throughout the Hudson Valley designed to increase your own understanding of data and help you help your students win the competition!

Click here for workshop dates and to register online. 

Please note that your participation in these workshops is not required for your students to enter the competition.

Step 3: Register your students for the competition.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how many teams of students you’ll have or what they’ll be doing yet. Registering tells us that you’re planning to get involved and gives us a chance to help you and your students out.

Registrations are due online no later than May 6 and all team information must be finalized by May 27. Team information may be finalized after registering using the team information sheet.

Step 4: Submit parental consent forms.

You will receive a registration confirmation e-mail with important information regarding the Data Jam Competition and student participation. Included in this confirmation e-mail will be a parental/guardian consent form and a team information sheet. Please print out the consent forms and distribute them to each participating student. Return the signed parental/guardian consent forms to the Cary Institute no later than May 27.

If you did not submit your students’ team information during your registration, or if their team information has changed since your registration, please complete a copy of the team information sheet. To ensure the receipt of all required materials, please send all completed parental/guardian consent forms and team information sheets together by May 27. All completed forms can either be scanned or photographed and e-mailed to caryeducation@caryinstitute.org or mailed to:

Shelly Forster
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
P.O. Box AB
Millbrook, NY 12545

Step 5: Support your students in their projects.

We hope to support you by providing workshops to help you graph, read, and interpret data and to creatively describe data. We encourage you to pass on these skills to your students and support them in their projects! 

Click here to download the judging rubric for student projects.

We will be sending all competition information and updates to your e-mail address. Please be sure to keep your students updated on any new information.

Step 6: Encourage your students to attend the event!

This year's Hudson Data Jam Expo will take place on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at Marist College from 2:00-4:00pm. Students are asked to come early to set up their projects and posters starting at 1:00pm. All prize winners will be announced during the event. Door prizes and the People's Choice Awards will only be given to students presenting their projects on Saturday, June 18.

Travel scholarships are available for students who live more than 40 miles away and demonstrate financial need. Send us an e-mail at caryeducation@caryinstitute.org for more information or questions about travel scholarships.

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

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