Abstract: Public discourse during the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced the central role data serves in shaping personal and community action. However, people may struggle to understand messages communicated through data due to limited data literacy—the ability to constructively reason with data. Fostering data literacy has largely been the domain of formal educational systems and export-oriented tools. Informal educational approaches, such as games or family activities, may overcome barriers to engaging with data by fostering data literacy through casual engagement. The proposed work explores how informal learning through creation and play with interactive physical data representations (physicalizations) may foster increased action, literacy, and engagement with data. We will design a series of do-it-yourself (DIY) activities for young children to construct physicalizations from household materials. These activities will allow children to explore COVID-19 and environmental ecology data in the context of their communities, helping them reason about the pandemic and community-centered information through data sensemaking and the creative process of making.
Sponsor: National Science Foundation IIS 2040489
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