A student working on Data Science. Photography by: Belinda Miguel.
A student working on Data Science. Photography by: Belinda Miguel.

The Hot New Class on Campus: Data Science

January 28, 2022

This year Huntington Beach High school added a new math course for Juniors and Seniors to take as an alternative to Algebra 2. The course was developed by Stanford and their goal is to have a different perspective of math instead of the regular courses that have been taught for many years. This brand new course teaches students how to analyze data, read graphs, and learn how to create visual representations from sets of data. 

Throughout this new course, students will be taught many useful skills for their future. Some of these skills include creating sets of data and creating visuals from the collected information. Belinda Miguel, a student at HBHS enrolled in the new course, said “for the first project we chose a question such as ‘How many times does one open Canvas in a week?’ and over the week we gathered data to answer the question. Once we got our collected data we created visuals for it.” 

Students also learn how to navigate through Google sheets. In doing so, students learn how to use the features on the program such as how to sort data, create graphs, and add equations. Miguel says, “Many of our projects use google sheets. The site is very helpful when it comes to sorting data and keeping everything organized; learning how to use google sheets will help me stay organized in the future!”

A Google spreadsheet project used in Data Science. Photography by: Haley Durrant

April Lloyd, a teacher at Huntington Beach High School who teaches both Data Science and Algebra 2, says, “Students will further their critical thinking and communication skills throughout the course… as well as working with google sheets, students will also be introduced to coding skills” 

Data science is recommended for those who want to go towards the Statistics route rather than the Calculus/Algebra 2 curriculum, providing another option for high-school students. “A student that is interested in attending a four-year college right out of high school but is worried about struggling in Algebra 2 (maybe they struggled in Algebra 1) might consider Data Science instead,” Lloyd says.

“Someone who is interested in pursuing a career in the tech industry or running a business might also be interested in taking Data science instead of Algebra 2,” Lloyd continued. 

Compared to Algebra 2, Data Science focuses on projects; those who want to take the class should take into consideration that the course is based on a lot of group work, therefore one must be willing to collaborate. Lloyd says, “Data Science is project-based and has no tests. It allows for more open-ended exploration and students have more freedom than a typical math class on topics they get to study. It is very collaborative and students will have the opportunity to work with their peers on a regular basis.”

Photo of Tess Walshe, Chelsea Lasky, and Roslyn Brown working on a project together. Photography by: Haley Durrant

Overall, Data Science is a great alternative in comparison to other math classes for those who are not interested in taking Calculus. If you are a student who wants to try something new and learn ways to incorporate data into your life, maybe data science is the right place for you!

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