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Teaching/Advising Resources

Teachers of any subject can get their students involved in the Data Jam.

Whether your students focus on historical trends, scientific poetry, or creative mathematical visualizations, we want to support you and your students throughout this competition! 

We've gathered the following resources to help you on your journey.

  • Contest Essentials is an overview of the contest and what’s new this year.
  • Data Jam Guidebook contains complete contest information.
  • We have a special “teachers-only” Google Drive Folder with sample graphs for all of the datasets. Please email us to receive access. Parent/guardian advisors for Family Data Jam may also access these sample graphs on request.
  • Learn how participation in Hudson Data Jam can fulfill NYS Science Learning Standards.
  • We asked veteran Data Jam coaches to share their advice. Read their tips on how to Jam.

How to support a great Data Jam project

Step 1

Familiarize yourself with the resources provided here.

Step 2

Attend a workshop or webinar (optional!)

Webinar opportunities will be announced on the Data Jam Network Facebook group page.

Step 3

Register your group for the competition.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how many teams of students you’ll have or what they’ll be studying yet. Registering tells us that you’re planning to get involved and gives us a chance to help your teams out. This also helps us plan the Awards Expo and the contest judging.

Registrations are due online by May 13.

Step 4

Submit parental consent forms.

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 6.

All completed forms can either be scanned or photographed and e-mailed to or mailed to:
Data Jam Program
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies P.O. Box AB Millbrook, NY 12545


Step 5

Support your students in their projects.

We encourage you to register early and schedule a classroom visit with Cary educators, and to email us if you have any questions about the data or your projects.

Step 6

Encourage your students to attend the Expo!

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

Additional resources

These worksheets and lessons may help students work through understanding Data Jam, choosing an appropriate dataset level, getting to know their datasets, and graphing their data.

  • Ecology Lesson Plans: We have developed hundreds of ecology lesson plans, many of which incorporate locally collected, authentic scientific data.This site includes dozens of Hudson River ecology lesson plans, many of which discuss Data Jam topics like zebra mussels and tidal marshes.
  • Guided-Inquiry Graphing Puzzles: Give your students practice interpreting unusual Hudson River phenomena from the HRECOS ecological monitoring system. These puzzles were developed and graciously shared by Steve Stanne, Education Coordinator of the Hudson River Estuary Program.
  • Getting to Know your Dataset: This worksheet guides a student through getting to know their dataset, from prior knowledge to understanding the metadata to graphing the data and analyzing the graph.
  • Graph Choice Chart: This paper from the November 2014 issue of The Science Teacher has a chart that helps students choose the best type of graph for their particular science question.
  • Choosing the Best Graphs and Statistical Tests: We hope this powerpoint will be useful for both teachers and students.
  • Student Planning Sheet: This planning tool can help your classes break Data Jam down into small digestible steps with concrete deadlines.

Don't hesitate to reach out ( with any questions that you or your students have about the competition or the individual datasets. Since most of the data were collected by Cary scientists, we can forward your questions to the appropriate person to get your students the most helpful answers about the science!