Digging into Data Science using the Garden Dataset

Contributing author Lisa Lendway has been teaching statistics and data science at Macalester College for the past 4 1/2 years. Before returning to Macalester College (she’s an alum!), Lisa worked as a statistician/data scientist in a variety of industries including retail, healthcare, and insurance. She strives to stay at the forefront of new R technology and to teach her students those skills so they can thrive in the workforce or graduate school. When not nerding out about R, you can probably find Lisa biking with her spouse, spending time with her 9 & 11 year old kids, or tending her large urban garden.

In the summer of 2020, I decided it was time to collect some data from my garden. I did this for two reasons: 

  1. I was curious about how much food I produced.
  2. I wanted to use the data in my Introductory Data Science course at Macalester College.

I knew the data would be fairly simple, and I liked that it would be a bit personal and give a way for me to connect with students. Although I didn’t know it when I started collecting the data, the personal aspect ended up being especially important during the 2020-21 school year when I was teaching remotely.

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