MDI Biological Laboratory

DataLit Institute 2022

A workshop for current SEPA: Data to Action teachers and scientist partners

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MDI Biological Laboratory and Dartmouth College, in collaboration with multiple partners in Maine and New Hampshire, are leading an NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) project called: “Data to Action: A secondary school-based citizen science project to address arsenic contamination of well water”.

High school and middle school teachers from Maine and New Hampshire, along with scientist partners from neighboring institutions, work collaboratively to engage their students as citizen scientists by integrating well water monitoring into their curriculum.

The overall goal is to provide teachers and students with the tools, skills, and support to make sense of well water data so that their analyses can inform actions at the community level, resulting in positive public health outcomes.

The DataLit Institute will provide time for teachers and their scientist partners to collaborate on developing research and data literacy skills, meet with other teachers and scientist partners to create or update curriculum with a focus on arsenic in well water, and generate a basis of ongoing collaboration with each other and other program participants.

As part of their experience at the Institute, participants will have the opportunity to learn about quality assurance/quality control of data, as well as responsible conduct of research. They will hone their data visualization and data analysis skills using Tuva data literacy software with data literacy experts from Tuva. This year will have a focus on telling data supported stories.

After completion of the DataLit Institute, Maine and New Hampshire teachers will implement arsenic monitoring projects in their classrooms, with support from their local scientist partners.

  • Teachers will integrate monitoring well water for arsenic into new or existing curriculum.
  • Students will collect well water from their private wells and/or distribute project information and water collection containers to community members. Samples will be analyzed at the Trace Element Analysis Core at Dartmouth.
  • Anonymous data will be uploaded into our online citizen science data portal, Parents/community members will access their data reports via the project website: All About Arsenic.
  • Students will learn to use Tuva data literacy software to interpret and display data for sharing with their communities.
  • Teachers and students will conduct public outreach and share data and solutions to well water contamination with parents and community members.

Teachers are required to participate in the DataLit Institute hosted by the MDI Biological Laboratory before initiating classroom projects. Apply now for participation during the 2022-2023 school year. New teachers in the program must contact the SEPA Program Director at MDI Biological Laboratory, Jane Disney, at, before registering for the DataLit Institute.

Workshop Directors

Workshop Faculty


Teachers and scientist partners receive a stipend for the week. No tuition is charged.


This research training opportunity is supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number R25 GM129796.

Project title: Data to Action: A Secondary School-based Citizen Science Project to Address Arsenic Contamination of Well Water.

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