Health statistics center is training young ‘data detectives’


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As summer approaches, camps that teach children about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are all the rage.

But only one is held by the National Center for Health Statistics — and it’s recruiting rising sixth- and seventh-graders.

It’s called the NCHS Data Detectives Camp, and it trains children on the basics of statistical thinking.

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The free STEM camp, which started in 2016, has been offered via Zoom since the pandemic began. It’s a two-hour-a-day class that takes place the week of Aug. 8-12.

The camp introduces curious tweens to statistical concepts such as comparisons, predictions and distributions in a child-friendly format.

The camp aims to “help teach kids to think like a data detective by asking the right question, collecting the needed information, analyzing the data, and determining the answer,” the agency says.

Nation’s health by the numbers can be found at CDC-affiliated blog

That’s the approach used by the federal agency, which provides statistical information that is then used to guide health policy. NCHS, which is a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tracks everything from mortality to the incidence of diseases to information about health systems.

Its snapshots of health data reveal fascinating and sometimes stark truths about health in the United States, such as the number of suicides and drug overdoses and stats about how many people eat their fruits and veggies.

The camp is presented in partnership with the University of Maryland.

Does your math-loving tween need something to do in August? The application form is simple, and the agency will accept 30 students. To be considered, children have to answer a question about their favorite math concept, equation or number.

The application deadline is May 30. For more information, go to



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