Plug in the numbers

15 Nov 2021
Decorative image showing a line graph with footprints of sunshine and solar panels

 

Last week, the Data Education in Schools team, in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (Digital World HQ) and Digital Skills Education, ran a new live lesson aligned to COP26, 'Use Data Science to reduce your school's carbon footprint'.

The live lesson took place on 9th November with a second event on the 10th Nov due to teacher demand.

The live lesson combined a livestream (via YouTube), with Craig Steele and Daniel Devine (Digital Skills Education) effortlessly presenting the context of the data discussion, while learners across the country (and beyond) worked through a series of browser-based activities to explore how they could reduce their school’s carbon footprint.

Learners used an open dataset released by Dundee City Council showing electricity consumption by schools in the region.  They also accessed a NASA research dataset that provides solar and meteorological data.

The dataset from NASA is accessed using an API, a programmatic way of requesting data that allows learners to download the required data from NASA automatically. To support learners, NASA Langley Research Center agreed to give our learners unlimited requests when using the API as part of our tool.

Learners also used a customised mapping tool and geographic information system to identify location data (latitude and longitude) for their school and measure out the area of their school roof using OpenStreetMap.

Over 520 learners took part in the live lessons over the 2 days.  Feedback from learners has been overwhelmingly positive with 93% saying they would like to attend another data science live lesson. Learner remarks reflected on what they enjoyed and learnt during the session:

  • A fun way to learn data science and you would really enjoy it
  • I liked trying to work out how much electricity the school would make in a year.
  • Understanding what can actually be done to combat climate change
  • [Understanding the] different types of panels there are and how effective they are

‘Use data science to reduce your school’s carbon footprint’ is the third live lesson the Data Education in Schools team have developed with Skills Development Scotland and Digital Skills Education.  Defend the Rhino, which uses simulated machine learning to identify poachers and save wildlife, and Data Selfie (exploring data visualisation), have together reaches over 10,000 learners since the first event ran just over a year ago.

Find out more and access the lesson activities