See How To Increase STEM Engagement With Data Mining

  • Jun 06, 2018

How familiar are your students with data mining? Data mining is the process of discovering patterns in large data sets. It involves methods at the intersection of machine learning, statistics, and database systems.

We don’t know about you, but we definitely don’t see this as being the most exciting topic for students.

And yet, data mining is a critical life skill that most STEM careers require. Data mining analyst positions are the most prominent of data mining position sought after by employers, according to the University of Nebraska – Omaha. In this career path, professionals identify data sources, synthesize large data sets, and determine industry-specific patterns of interest. A data engineer is another STEM profession that requires data mining skills. These professionals incorporate data mining as well as traditional business analyst and research skills to help companies identify problems, capture associated business requirements, and analyze data solutions.

Getting Students Involved with Weather Data Mining

Even though data mining is a key skill for a rewarding career, it’s difficult to get students involved. That’s where weather comes in. We’ve found time and time again that the weather is the perfect subject to get students involved with more complicated STEM concepts. This is because the weather impacts daily life for students from what they wear to if their outdoor sporting events will be canceled or not.

In our May 2018 WeatherSTEM Professional Development webinar, WeatherSTEM Founder and CEO, Ed Mansouri, showed participants how easy data mining is with WeatherSTEM and how to introduce students to his important professional skill. Keep reading for Ed’s example, or watch the webinar now and skip ahead to the 31-minute mark.

Data Mining Lesson Example: Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

In WeatherSTEM, there are dozens of handcrafted weather lesson plans for instructors to utilize in their classrooms. Some of these lessons instruct students to data mine from their own weather station throughout the lesson. The Thunderstorms and Tornadoes lesson plan is one of these examples.

In this lesson, students learn that weather conditions that accompany thunderstorms include a sudden drop in temperature, an increase of rain rate, and wind gusts. While students first think of these conditions by remembering personal experiences with thunderstorms, it’s important that we have them investigate these as data sets.

WeatherSTEM Data Mining Tools

WeatherSTEM makes this investigation easy with its built-in data mining tool. To access the tool, go to “Data Mining” in the upper right-hand corner. To investigate, students can choose through a number of probes.

For this example, it makes sense for students to choose data sets like temperature, rain rate, and 10-minute wind gusts. Next, students should pick a time frame they want to investigate, which can vary from weeks to months to years. Then students have to pick an output format. You can instruct students to download an Excel file, but WeatherSTEM comes with a built-in tool that makes weather data visualization more interactive and easy to compare.

Visualizing Data in Exciting, New Ways

We recommend choosing the “chart” output. This allows students to view the data as a chart online. Students can analyze this information to find out when thunderstorms may have occurred during the time period. This is a great way for students to analyze data and support their analysis with the relationship between different data sets. For example, a sudden drop in temperature alone wouldn’t indicate a thunderstorm. Students also have to monitor the other variables to come to their conclusions.

WeatherSTEM is the Software Students Love

When it comes to encouraging students to take part in complex STEM concepts, WeatherSTEM makes it easy. We’re excited to continue our WeatherSTEM Webinar series this month. If you are a current WeatherSTEM teacher or you’re just learning about this interactive software, please join us to see how you can get the most out of it.

Our next live webinar is on Wednesday, June 21, 2018 at 3:30 PM. Please register using the link below and make sure you have any questions ready.


We’re excited to keep exploring the many uses of WeatherSTEM with you. Mark your calendars, and we’ll see you next week!