Data Decoders

Superpowered by Computers

Have you ever wondered how computers learn, and what it means to work with “big data”?

First, meet Tatiana to learn why data science matters today, and then join the Data Decoders to teach a computer to “see” plants and make a model for testing out a new fertilizer, with a goal to improve lives through science. Grab your science notebook to take notes as you go, and then share your discoveries with others!

Learn Why Research Matters

Tatiana loves listening to the sounds of the forest and is studying the impact of sustainable logging on biodiversity in tropical forests, but she can’t do her work alone. She makes use of a computer science tool built by the Solís-Lemus Lab to help “see” sounds of the forest and count how many animals are there.

View Transcript

Questions to Consider:


Yuren in the Solís-Lemus Lab is using code to give the computer instructions about what to do with Tatiana’s animal recordings. Have you done any computer programming or coding before? How do you tell a computer what you’d like it to do?


Tatiana had an overwhelming amount of data to analyze before she got help from Yuren, who created a computer program that could process her ‘big data’ in just a week! When else have you heard about computers analyzing large amounts of data? What would you need to do this for?

“Yuren is a data scientist, and she is taking information I gathered and teaching computers to identify animal sounds. I’m very excited because it would probably take me my entire life to [analyze] all the recordings, but this program will do it in like a week!”

— Tatiana Maeda

Meet The Scientists

Read about the scientists, then flip over the cards to learn more (and discover their secret superpower!) Who do you relate to the most?

There are 4 cards to read.

Claudia Solís-Lemus, Principal Investigator
Claudia Solís-Lemus
Principal Investigator

I mentor and train the students and researchers in my lab, and I guide the development of scientific products like papers and presentations. 📋

Yunyi Shen, Graduate Student
Yunyi Shen
Graduate Student

I am one of the graduate students that develop new methods to analyze data. 💻

Sam Ozminkowski, Research Assistant
Sam Ozminkowski
Research Assistant

I am a research assistant in the lab. Most of my job involves programming, but I also do things like reading, writing, and creating/interpreting graphs. 📊

Yuren Sun
Yuren Sun
Undergraduate Researcher

I work on training computers to analyze data. This means that I modify data inputs, test the training outputs, and revise the ways to prepare the data, over and over again… 👩‍💻

Icon depicting a line drawing of a human head with brain activity inside a hexagon shape

What’s your superpower?

Use this fillable PDF template to create your own scientist trading card.


Learn About the Lab

Scientist answering questions
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Ask a

Ever wonder what scientists do every day, or what kind of equipment they use in their lab? Here’s your chance to ask them! Explore responses from members of the Solís-Lemus Lab to learn more about what research really looks like!

Do Science!

Graduate student logging notes
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Science Practices Activity

Join lab researcher Yunyi as he collaborates with plant biologist Matilda to make a model that can support her data analysis. Can you help Yunyi teach a computer to see a cabbage plant, and then help Matilda know how well a new fertilizer tested on cabbages is working?

Project Credits

Ian Glodich

Ian Glodich
Ryan Hendricks

Ian Glodich
Ryan Hendricks

Catie Pfeifer

Norman Yuson Cuaño
John Vieth
Tim Schneider

Charles Barrows
Jen Hadley
Amanda Roslansky
Scott Stetson

Science Education Consultant
Travis Tangen, WID
Kevin Anderson, PhD, DPI

Educator Guide and Activities
Mia Forslund
Ian Glodich
Claudia Solís-Lemus
Yunyi Shen

Thanks to our participating scientists
Claudia Solis-Lemus, PhD
Sam Ozminkowski
Yunyi Shen
Yuren Sun

Project Partners
Morgridge Institute for
Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
Solís-Lemus Lab

Executive Producer
Megan Monday

Director of Education
Alyssa Tsagong

Director of Television
Jon Miskowski

Educator Cohort

Joy Aragones
The Prairie School
Wind Point, WI

Kathy Biernat
Notre Dame School of Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI

Jessica Buckley
Wedgewood Park Middle School
Milwaukee, WI

Lisa Graf
Merrill Middle School
Oshkosh, WI

Aimee Spahos
Waunakee Intermediate School
Waunakee, WI

Emily Watton
West Allis Central High School
West Allis, WI

Funding Provided By

Timothy William Trout Education Fund
a gift of Monroe and Sandra Trout

Focus Fund for Education

Friends of PBS Wisconsin