Review by Pamela Brittain, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2018

Tuva Labs

Dynamic data-exploration tool offers large collection of data sets

Subjects & skills
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Well-curated (and interesting) data sets are accessible and manageable with the site's clean design and easy-to-use manipulation tools.

Cons: Lots of resources provided but no answer keys; lack of supports for younger students could make it overwhelming.

Bottom Line: Partner with another teacher (preferably a data whiz) and work together to develop cross-curricular activities.

Tuva Labs' data sets are accessible for upper elementary through high school classrooms and across many subject levels. There are a large number of cross-curricular applications, and Tuva Labs seems to focus on these connections as much as possible; their content library is laid out so that it's searchable across a number of different categories, and most link at least two subject areas. You'll want to set aside prep time to explore the data and (probably) create your own activity.

Are your fourth-graders studying colonial America? Link math and history goals using the "Tobacco and Jamestown Economy" data set. Working on natural disasters in middle school? Access data sets on hurricanes and earthquakes while also exploring Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on statistical variability and distribution. Secondary science teachers will find lots of real-world data related to human impact (energy consumption, greenhouse gases, and so on). For more focused math practice (graphs, linear functions, data analysis), have small groups of students interact with data sets they (pre-)select. Turn to the "Model Shop" collection for sense-making examples of mathematical modeling.

Consider uploading your class' own data sets for further exploration; just don't forget a coordinating worksheet or journal entry. And be sure to check out the instructional support resources and Data Literacy 101 course if students are struggling to interpret the data.

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Tuva Labs provides access to more than 400 curated data sets -- with coordinating online student activities -- on topics as varied as gender identity and atmospheric CO2. Filters are available for subject, grade range, data set size, and more. The amount of data per set varies from less than 10 cases to thousands and from two to more than 20 attributes. There are also a few quick Data Stories prompts, as well as collections and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) tasks that offer themed activities across multiple data sets.

Activities provide guided questions to support data set manipulation and interpretation. Teachers can use a provided template to create new activities or modify existing ones. Teachers and students can also upload their own data sets, although activities can't be made for these. The teacher dashboard has tabs for each class, providing management for classes as well as students. Video tutorials, webinars, a glossary, and instructional support for data literacy are available on the resources page.

Data literacy is crucial, and Tuva Labs has huge potential for developing these skills. Its curated offerings make real data accessible, parceling it into chunks more manageable than many source sites. You can start with data on only 3,500 women from 1900–2000, instead of tackling the entire U.S. Census Bureau. Further, the intuitive interface makes data play feasible and fun for kids.

There are over 400 activities currently available that provide at least an introduction to what data can show, and in some cases offer more detailed exploration -- though many of the data sets still lack coordinated activities. Teachers may need to add to or expand on some of these activities, depending on students' level and expected outcomes, and it appears answer keys are up to teachers to create themselves. There are lots of teacher resources available, and Tuva has made an effort to provide materials around data interpretation, but it may take some time to get up to speed on the full functionality of the program. Many of the activities are created by Tuva staff; more of these expert-created activities would support in-class learning, and posting (and vetting) activity keys could reassure any hesitant educators.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The user-friendly, intuitive interface makes playing with data sets easy and fun. The teacher-created activities help make data meaningful for students over a wide range of interesting topics. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Practice with exploring and manipulating real data sets is powerful, and the varied topics fit lots of contexts. Coordinating activities come with ready-to-use questions, or teachers can create their own.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Teachers have access to a significant number of resources, including help for teaching data literacy. More activities (including answer keys) and scaffolding for younger students would help.

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Featured review by
Kat C. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Got Data Literacy?
I am sad that Tuva Labs is more of a freemium service now. I have been using it for a while and I think it is a great tool that should be accessible to all students. Data literacy is huge in today's job market. It is important that we start to prepare our students and arm them with these skill sets so that they can be successful in the future.
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