“What’s Going On In This Graph?” Begins Sixth Year of Exploring Data Visualization with Students and Educators

The ability to read and assess data visualizations is an increasingly important skill for today’s students. As ASA’s column in partnership with The New York Times Learning Network, “What’s Going On In This Graph?”, starts its sixth year, it continues to encourage students to think critically about what a data visualization tells them each week by drawing from recent top news coverage. 

WGOITG encompasses activities and questions designed to improve students’ understanding and critical interpretation of visual displays of information in real life. A previously published New York Times graph and related content is released most Thursday afternoons throughout the academic year. 

For each graph, students are asked four questions:

  • “What do you notice in the graph?”; 
  • “What do you wonder from the graph?”; 
  • “How does the graph relate to you and your community?”; and 
  • “Can you create a catchy headline that captures the main idea of the graph?” 

Students and teachers can participate in a live online discussion about the week’s WGOITG on Wednesdays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET.

Each week, the previous WGOITG is updated with a “reveal” that shares the free link to the New York Times article that included the graph, highlights from the discussion and additional questions, shoutouts for the best student headlines, and related statistical concepts and vocabulary (“Stat Nuggets”).

In addition to curating, writing, and moderating WGOITG, Sharon Hessney recruited and coordinates more than 50 teacher moderators and has participated in numerous webinars about the program. She also updates an index of WGOITG’s released graphs by topic, graph type, and Stat Nugget. Roxy Peck and Erica Chauvet serve as advisers and editors.

Read the full Q&A with column writer, moderator and coordinator Sharon Hessney

View the latest “What’s Going On In This Graph?” Challenge

Explore how data visualization impacts daily life with statistician Nathan Yau


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