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Family Data Jam

Family teams will choose one or more local ecological datasets to graph and interpret, and express their findings creatively for the chance to win a special prize.

What is Family Data Jam?

Created in response to an increased need for distance-learning opportunities, Family Data Jam allows students of all ages and their family members to explore data together. Much like the original Hudson Data Jam Competition, Family Data Jam teams will choose one or more local ecological datasets to graph and interpret, and express their findings creatively for the chance to win a special prize.

Unlike the original Hudson Data Jam Competition, which discourages significant parent involvement, students, siblings and guardians can join forces through Family Data Jam to create a collaborative project submission. Family Data Jam also allows elementary-age students to participate (the original Hudson Data Jam is open only to middle and high school students).

Who should participate in Family Data Jam?

Family Data Jam is a great option for:

  • Families looking for collaborative, flexible STEAM education opportunities during school closures
  • Students of all ages who have not participated in Data Jam in previous years or are otherwise unfamiliar with the Hudson Data Jam Competition
  • Creative, motivated elementary-age students who need extra help from adults with computer work and/or data sense-making
  • Siblings of different ages and grade levels who want to work together on an exploratory project
  • Students looking for a creative extracurricular without the commitment of a full written report (see “Requirements” below)


Family Data Jam teams must include at least one adult supervisor (parent, guardian, sibling older than 18) and one child. There is no limit to the number of family members in a team!


Family Data Jam teams will register for the Competition using the same online form as the original Hudson Data Jam. Any non applicable form entries, such as “School Name” or “Anticipated # of Student Teams”, you may simply leave blank or type “N/A”. Registration is required, and due by April 16, 2021.


Family Data Jam is a “condensed” version of the original Hudson Data Jam: instead of a full written report, participants need only submit a single graph generated from their chosen dataset, a short written interpretation of their observed trends, their creative component, and a brief explanation of their creative component. Please refer to the Family Data Jam rubric for details.

Project Submission

Family teams will submit their information via Google Form. All team leaders (parent/guardian/adult) will be emailed a link to a personal Google Drive folder where projects and parental/guardian consent forms will be uploaded. Graphs and accompanying written components should be submitted in PDF format. Depending on the nature of the creative component, non-video creative submissions may be uploaded in .jpeg, .mp3, or any other appropriate file format.

***All videos must be submitted as a YouTube link. For ease of judging, please ensure that your students' YouTube links are included in their reports. Please note: the use of copyrighted music in project videos may result in YouTube's removal of these videos from their website. Check out Free Music Archive for tunes available through Creative Commons.

Note: Please use the following file naming convention when saving and uploading projects: "ProjectTitle_Level of Dataset_Last Name".pdf (.jpeg, etc.). Here is an example of a proper file name: Mussels on the Move_Level 1_Smith.pdf. Please contact Data Jam Coordinator Ashley Alred ( with any questions. Projects are due April 30, 2021 by 11:59pm EST.


The following prizes are awarded for Family Data Jam:

  • Best overall project ($200)
  • Level 1 winner ($100)
  • Level 2 winner ($100)
  • Level 3 winner ($100)

Winners will be announced during our Virtual Expo & Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 21, 2021.

Featured Datasets

While you can choose to interpret any dataset from Cary Institute’s online collection, certain datasets may be more amenable to Family Data Jam projects than others. Level 1 datasets are the most accessible, particularly suited to younger students or those who have never participated in Data Jam before. Any dataset marked as “Enhanced” would also be a good choice - these datasets include detailed background information sheets that can aid in the interpretation of more complex phenomena.