Power of Data Project


“The big GIS projects that we do . . .  empower students. They use it to suggest policy change on our campus. Last year [students] told the district ‘we’re going to reduce your energy consumption by 20%.’ The district laughed and said, ‘try for 2%.’ They got 14% . . .  now [energy conservation policies are] implemented at all the campuses . . . We were recognized as a green ribbon school for their efforts; we are currently the only green ribbon school in the state of Arizona.”

--Shane Bycott, Skyline High School in Mesa, AZ

Program Type

Teacher Development/Training
Hands on/Project-Based

Target Audience

Teachers/Educational Leaders




Grades 6 - 8
Grades 9 - 12

 Accomplished link

Program Impact



Program Overview

The Power of Data (POD) Project prepares Arizona high school teachers to carry out hands-on projects where students use technology and analyze data to solve real problems in their communities.

POD brings teams of Arizona high school math, science and career/technical teachers together to analyze data using geospatial technologies to propose solutions to authentic local challenges. They then implement the same lessons in their schools. Pairs of secondary CTE and math or science content teachers from the same school convene for professional learning sessions occurring over 2 academic years. Project leadership serves as a model for participants by partnering STEM faculty. 

Teams are immersed as learners in project based, subject- and technology-integrated experiences that require them to gather and analyze spatial data, drawing upon each other's expertise. When they use the same lessons in their schools, teachers witness students' enthusiasm as they gain spatial reasoning and analysis skills, practice 21st century workforce skills of collaboration and communication, and build their science, technology, and mathematical content knowledge.

Teachers are encouraged to continue these strategies in their classrooms and reform their teaching practices. Advanced coursework helps teachers develop the pedagogical and technical skills they need to design projects with a geospatial perspective specifically aligned to their disciplinary needs.

Funders and Partners

National Science Foundation, Science Foundation Arizona/Arizona Board of Education, Esri


Lori Rubino-Hare, Professional Development Coordinator

Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.