Wyoming researchers are diving deeper into data collection in order to better understand Wyoming’s microbiome. Yet one of the most challenging parts of collecting data is meaningfully sharing it with the public. Dr. Shannon Albeke, with the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center has developed a data discovery tool that aims to do just that.
|The map interface of the data discovery tool. The orange points indicate data sets collected in the Medicine Bow and Laramie area.|
While the data discovery tool is now home to diverse data sets from across Wyoming, Shannon was interested in the tools ability to aid outreach efforts across the state. Shannon has collaborated with Dr. Andrea Burrows on incorporating the Data Discovery Tool into K-12 curriculum across Wyoming. Through her Science Methods class, Dr. Burrows has recruited undergraduate and graduate students to develop lesson plans that relate to microbiology.
|Science Methods students display their depiction of cyanobacteria with their microbe art project.|
The initial lesson plans include an art project undergraduate students completed in their science methods class. To better understand microbes, the students divide pictures of microbes into three separate sections. Then in groups of three, each student painted a silk screen of their section of the microbe photo. When all three paintings are brought together, they complete the whole picture. Students working on the lesson plan development also proposed including microbiology into topics that are traditional covered in K-12 curriculum by focusing on microbes that exist within the food chain or ecosystem.
Shannon also mentioned storing imagery of microbes for younger students to view would also be beneficial. Additional modules and functionalities such as this can be incorporated into the data discovery tool to better aid outreach efforts.
With the development of the data discovery tool used in conjunction with outreach efforts, open data available to the public will further encourage more scientific exploration throughout the state.