Climate change and data literacy were not always considered an obvious pairing, but many scientists argue that data-driven solutions are the way forward to building a carbon-neutral society.
In a world in which fossil fuels dominate almost 80% of world energy consumption, the need to find solutions to climate change are becoming more and more urgent. These solutions, many scientists argue, can be found within data. Data science, and data visualisation, play a vital role in our understanding of global issues, making up the way in which we see the world. Many say that the power of data is key to guiding us towards a completely renewable future.
To be successful users of data, Susan Scurlock MBE, CEO and Founder of Primary Engineer believes it starts with educating and empowering students from a young age. Susan explained, “Young people need to be able to put resources to work for their own purposes, drawing on them creatively and critically. To support this process, we must engage young people with data that intersects with their lives (Gould et al. 2016). This may be understanding financial information, or comprehending real world issues, such as climate change.”
Susan continued, “At Primary Engineer we believe, young people need to be aware of the power of data in decision making, the role it will play in their future careers and fill the need of professionals being able to ‘speak data’. We have therefore designed and launched the STATWARS® Competition to develop data skills in primary and secondary aged children at home or in school. Our aim is to embed data into the heart of the educational journey, by linking creativity and enjoyment in developing a deep, sustainable understanding of the value and the use of data in all our lives. In turn, opening doors to careers that incorporate and require data skills.”
The STATWARS® Climate Change Challenge, intends to bring this ability to work with data to the next generation in their Climate Change Challenge. The project aims to empower and educate school pupils on mathematics, numeracy and data literacy, and to use this knowledge to tackle the climate crisis. The data can inform meaningful research and decision-making, shaping key policy decisions for the future of our planet. The STATWARS® Climate Change Challenge aims to make young people a part of that journey.
The competition’s structure encourages pupils to use data creatively and logically to support what Primary Engineer call, its climate change manifesto. The nature of the project encourages and develops meta skills related to teamwork, communication, leadership, curiosity, empathy, critical thinking and resilience, as teams collaborate on indeterminate problems and develop data driven hypothesis. The STATWARS® Climate Change Challenge also encourages the use of technology, such as the internet to search and collect data, as well as data mining and analysis software, which allow the conceptualisation, manipulation and presentation of data. Pupils identify three changes they can personally commit to in their daily lives to lower their own carbon footprint. Pupils are required to produce an infographic of their three pledges with an explanation of the data used to influence the decisions with visual charts and graphs and a poster designed to encourage others to make one or all three of the pledges.
STATWARS® is a free annual competition developed by Primary Engineer. STATWARS® provides free teaching resources including lesson plans, activity sheets and video tutorials to unlock the value of data, as well as live interviews with data experts.
If you or your organisation and would like to get involved, the STARWARS team would love to hear your stories, there are a number of ways in which you can get involved from video presentations, live interviews and much more to becoming a judge in the competition.