In this age of data explosion, data scientists have been highly sought after. It’s a fulfilling career path with many perks including attractive pay. Data science involves the use of math, statistics and applying several scientific methods and tools to collect, analyze, and manipulate raw data as well as data on various models to get information. A data scientist will mine data, clean it up and analyze it to get some meaningful information out of it.
Explaining the scope of data science, and what the job role of a data scientist entails to a child may seem so daunting. In reality, you can offer up an explanation that your young school-going child can understand and what better way to do it than with a fun activity. Here’s a breakdown of the main steps and responsibilities of a data scientist, explained through a fun activity that your child will most certainly enjoy.
Have your little one gather commonly used objects that they can find around the house. It can be their Legos or other toys, utensils, items of clothing, and the like. Consider the pile of clothing gathered. Ensure that the pile includes different types of clothing in different colors. While at it, keep clothes like socks and stockings separately. These clothing items that you withhold will, at a later stage, serve as a black-point or random data point.
Data Segregation and Analysis
Have your child select a particular type of clothing from the pile. Your child can choose, for example, bottom wears. Segregate the type of clothing selected into different piles, such for example, having a pile for jean trousers and shorts, and another pile for trousers and shorts made from other materials apart from jeans.
Ask your child to identify the specific characteristics that make the different clothing items belong to a particular pile. Can your child identify the key feature that you use to sort out the clothes?
Identifying Data Patterns
Go ahead and stack the clothing items in the different piles according to color. You can, for example, do white-blue-black-white-blue-black and so on. You can do up to 4-5 clothes per piece and ask your child to figure out the pattern in which the next 4-5 clothes will be. It may take several guesses before they get it right. Encourage your child to keep guessing and once they get the pattern right, have them do the sorting themselves.
Introducing Random Data Elements
Choose an item from the pile of previously hidden clothing and reveal it to your child. Ask them where they think this new clothing item belongs. Is it with the pile of top wears? Does the bottom wear made of jeans? Or the bottom wears made from other material apart from jeans?
Perhaps an entirely new pile?
The newly introduced piece of clothing is meant to create randomness, which is something that your little data scientist will have to deal with when handling data. It is important to understand whether these random data elements are nothing or a unique event. In this case, help your child understand that even though the socks and stockings may appear different from the pile of bottom wear you have put together, they are still clothing and have an important use, just like the rest of the clothing.
Ask your child to think of when they may need seasonal clothing such as sweaters, jackets, and caps. Add these clothing items to the unsorted pile of clothes. Then ask your little one which pile among the piles of sorted clothes these seasonal clothes belong to, or if they belong in their separate pile. Encourage your child to stack the clothes accordingly.
Have the kids take a moment and try to remember the patterns you followed to sort out the clothing and how well or accurately they followed these patterns. Have them draw a graph, highlighting the activity, with the object’s order and the forecasted order.
You can also have the kids highlight their mistakes in the graph while encouraging them on how to avoid the same, or similar mistakes in the future. With more practice runs, you should be able to see from their activity graphs, some improvements, as they understand the whole process a little better.
Fun, At-home Learning
Childhood education endeavors are always more likely to be successful when you do the learning with what is fun and familiar. Kids will have an easy time learning data science with the fun activity outlined and they can move on to other study materials and even attending data science classes.
Veterans can also learn to code for less with GI benefits. The GI benefits will cover tuition. Even as you set out on your new career path, you can teach your children and other kids about data science, and they may want to follow the same path.