STEAM Challenge

Tech You

 Submission Due Date: April 1, 2022

Designed for Middle and High School Students

Table of Contents

●    The Challenge

●    Assumptions and Logistics

●    Process

●    Meridian Support Resources

●    Presentation of Learning

●    Evaluation Rubric

●    Essential Questions

●    Student Proficiencies

●    Common Core Curricular Correlations in Mathematics and ELA

Range of Activities

●    Data Collection, Visualization, and Analysis

●    Deriving Meaning from Data Analysis

●    Digital Technology Exploration

●    Self-Exploration and Reflection

●    Artistic Representations

●    Digital Literacy Skills – Video – Pre-production, Production and Post-production

●    21st Century Skills: Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Presentational Skills

The Challenge

As you no doubt know by now, every single one of your online interactions leaves a digital trace. All these interactions online are little pieces of you – gigabytes and megabytes – sent out into the world that create a larger cyber representation of who you are, what you like, and how you live. As soon as you log on, sign in, or create anything on the web, the material is contributing to an ever-evolving digital identity. Each account is like an alter ego in which you, through a screen, interact with others and send a piece of yourself out far beyond your physical presence.

Is anyone collecting this information? Paying attention to this evolving digital identity? Yes. Your social media accounts and platforms analyze the information that you have put out there about yourself. For instance, YouTube and Amazon track the type of video you watch/products you view and recommend other options you might be interested in. Each online interaction gathers information from you that is aggregated and readable. Each click in which you send out your name, your opinions, your preferences, or your information adds to this technological extension of self. So, not only are youconstantly feeding your digital identity, but corporate companies out there are also constantly interpreting that identity and feeding that interpretation back to you.

Marshall McLuhan, in his seminal book, Understanding Media, said, “The use of any kind of medium or extension of man alters the patterns of interdependence among people, as it alters the ratios of the senses. It is the persistent theme… that all technologies are extensions of our physical and nervous systems to increase power and speed.”  This Meridian Challenge agrees and asks you to take it a step further: if technologies are extensions of ourselves, what does our tech self look like? Would we recognize it? Can we shape it?

In this challenge, you and your team will want to track where you go digitally over a five-day time period; articulate the data mathematically and graphically, and then create a visual and creative technological self-portrait of yourself or your team.

Let’s take this one step at a time:

First, you will work in a team to gather data about your individual technological identities. This includes collecting all digital media with which you interact, comment on, or create over a five-day period, including all digital interactions from emails to gaming to music to shopping online.

Second, prepare a presentation of your collective data in a mathematical graph(s).

Third, working individually, create an artistic self-portrait that in some way indicates your new understanding of self, given your exploration of your digital identity.

Fourth, present your self-portrait(s).

The final video product involves a) a documentation of your process of data collection and graphing; b) the presentation of the collective data; and c) the presentation of your self-portraits. This can be done in an unscripted (but edited) moment of you and your teammates sharing your self-portraits with each other. Or they can be presented directly to the camera.

In the end, your team will explore your digital identities – your out-of-body, extended selves – as based on real data collection and reflect on yourselves as composite – biological and digital – beings. After you finish presenting your self-portraits, …what did you learn? Tell the camera. That is the final step.

Deliverables include:

  • Tech You Video (this is the only Meridian Stories deliverable)
  • Data Summary Report (at the teacher’s discretion)
  • Group Graph (at teacher’s discretion)
  • Technology Self-Portrait (at the teacher’s discretion)

Assumptions and Logistics

Time Frame – We recommend that this digital storytelling project takes place inside of a three to four-week time frame.

Length – All Meridian Stories submissions should be under 4 minutes in length, unless otherwise specified.

Slate – All digital storytelling projects must begin with a slate that provides:

  1. the title of the piece;
  2. the name of the school submitting;
  3. the wording ‘Permission Granted’ which gives Meridian Stories the right to a) publicly display the submission in question on, as linked from, related to or in support of Meridian Stories digital media; and b) use or reference it for educational purposes only, in any and all media; and
  4. We strongly recommend that students do not put their last names on the piece either at the start or finish, during the credits.

Submissions – Keep in mind that each school can only submit three submissions per Competition (so while the entire class can participate in the Challenge, only three can be submitted to Meridian Stories for Mentor review and scoring).

Teacher Reviews – All reviews by the teacher are at the discretion of the teacher and all suggested paper deliverables are due only to the teacher. The only deliverable to Meridian Stories is the digital storytelling project.

Teacher’s Role and Technology Integrator – While it is helpful to have a Technology Integrator involved, they are not usually necessary: the students already know how to produce the digital storytelling project. And if they don’t, part of their challenge is to figure it out. They will! The teacher’s primary function in these Challenges is to guide the students as they engage with the content.  You don’t need to know editing, sound design, shooting or storyboarding: you just need to know your content area, while assisting them with time management issues.

Digital Rules/Literacy – We strongly recommend that all students follow the rules of Digital Citizenry in their proper usage and/or citation of images, music and text taken from other sources. This recommendation includes producing a citations page at the end of your entry, if applicable. See the Digital Rules area in the Meridian Resources Center section of the site for guidance.

Location – Try not to shoot in a classroom at your school. The classroom, no matter how you dress it up, looks like a classroom and can negatively impact the digital story you are trying to tell.

Collaboration – We strongly recommend that students work in teams of 3-4: part of the educational value is around building collaborative skill sets. But students may work individually. 

The Process

Below is a suggested breakdown for the students’ work.

During Phase I, student teams will:

[In the following three phases, always ask the question: should I be shooting this? The brainstorming. The collection of the data. The discussions around the graphing. The final graph. Document key moments of your process as you are going along so that you can include that in your final digital story.]

  • Work with your team to decide the boundaries of the data that you are collecting.
    • Take some time to list out websites, accounts, and other parameters about what your team considers a technological extension of self. If you collect your passwords in one place, this would be a great place to start to ‘see’ all the digital places you go.
      • This list may grow or shrink during data collection.
    • Decide with your group in what way the data is going to be collected.
      • Is each member journaling? Keeping a blog? Creating a document? A photo journal? Are you entering data every time you sit at a computer or look at your phone, or entering data every …30 minutes?
        • Your group must decide as a team how to quantify the abstracted data points.
        • The data will be put in a graph format after the five days, so make sure the data is in a form that is transferable and mathematically viable.
      • Keep in mind that you and your team are responsible for creating a mathematically accurate representation and analysis of this data, so your collection and recording methods need to be clear and precise.
    • Decide what other information will be recorded with the data.
      • A few examples might be:
        • How long you were on a certain page?
        • How was the link provided to you: recommended by a website/related by other videos you’ve watched/tagged by a friend/shared?
        • How much information about your real physical identity was given with it? Or is this just a digital place that you were consuming, without signing in?
        • Can your peers see the information/tech you’ve shared/created?
      • Collect the data over the course of five days. They don’t have to be consecutive.
        • Each student will record their own data, careful to not alter their habits due to this process of monitoring and aggregating.
        • Teacher’s Option: Data Summary Report – Teachers may require that teams hand in a report summarizing the data they collected.

During Phase II, student teams will:

  • Now that you have graphed your own data, it’s time to put this together into one group graph. This will allow you to see some context; to see yourself and your technology habits in comparison to your peers.
  • During or after the five days, sort the data into categories to make the aggregation and graphing easier.
    • For example:
      • Collecting all the terms that had been searched in a search engine in one place, careful to keep date/time/duration with the data.
      • Collecting all the (descriptions/images of) items purchased in one place.
      • Collecting all the emails received by a subscription in one category.
    • Use a minimum of three of the specific types of data/information that have collected, to be represented graphically.
      • These specific categories must represent different aspects of one’s digital identity and show trends in behavior and/or reactions from the outside (peers, websites, sellers, etc.)
        • For example:
          • One could choose to represent average time required for Amazon/eBay/Facebook/Instagram to use or make suggestions/create ads based on search history or past activity.
          • One could choose to represent number of likes (throughout all platforms) throughout the week to see usage trends in time of day or day of the week.
        • Choose with your group a method(s) of mathematical graphing to represent the data.
          • (i.e. scatter plot, pie chart, bar graph, etc.)
        • Graph the group data in the type of graph(s) you have chosen
          • You must use data from every group member in each graph.
          • The graphs must show data/conclusions of substance, so make sure to pick axis and graph types that show the interesting pieces of the data collected.
        • Consider what the graph(s) show and mean:
          • Were there any surprises?
          • Are there any consistent trends of behavior within the group?
          • Does one person’s data differ drastically from another?
        • Does showing the data in a graph format make it easier to interpret?
          • Teacher’s Option: Group Graph – Teachers may require that teams hand in their graphic data representations for review and feedback.
        • At this point, be sure you have key footage of the process that has led you to this point and the of the group graph.
        • Create the cyber self-portraits.
          • Now the team will break apart for a beat and work individually. You will take all the information and create a visual and artistic representation of your composite digital/biological/physical selves. In other words, you will create one self-portrait that shows both the similarities and the differences between your digital identity and a physical one.
          • Some questions to consider:
            • Does your digital identity shock you in any way?
            • What pieces of the data surprised you most? What parts of the data fit with what you’d expect?
            • Does the visual artistic representation show the digital identity – the one that is out there, active, while you may be sleeping at home – at odds with the physical identity or are they one and the same to you?
            • What piece of the data seems to make up the most of your digital identity? Does it show where you spend most of your time? Does it show that more information about your physical self is present online than you realized?
            • Does the data make you question your digital identity? Or make you want to alter it?
          • The student can use all or most of the pieces of data collected. And keep in mind that a self-portrait doesn’t have to be hand-drawn art. It can be comprised of words and existing images/graphics as well. The only criteria here is…put it in a frame.
          • Teacher’s Option: Technology Self-Portraits– Teachers may require that each member hand in their self-portrait, with a page of explanation for
        • Plan out the final reflection piece in which:
          • You will discuss the difficulty level of the process and knowledge learned through the experience.
          • You will discuss the final self-portrait and what it represents
          • You will discuss any takeaways that you will remember and/or keep in mind as you continue to evolve your digital life.
        • Pre-produce the final video as a team.
        • Scout locations for shooting – where is a comfortable place to reveal your self-portraits to your friends?
        • Create costumes, props and other set pieces, as needed; and
        • Prepare the logistics for the actual shooting of the video.

During Phase III, student teams will:

  • Shoot the remainder of the video (no more than four minutes in total)
    • We recommend that the first minute of the video is dedicated to a) introducing yourselves and documenting the process of the data collection.
    • Second, record the presentation of the graphs. We would aim for 30 seconds.
      • The entire team will present the graphs and discuss briefly what the graph represents, the conclusions that follow from it, and the impact of the conclusions.
    • Third, record the presentation of the digital self-portraits
      • Each person will individually and succinctly discuss/present their digital self-portraits
    • Fourth, record the conclusions and reflections
  • Edit the video, adding stills and graphics as desired.
  • Record any additional voice-over or narration, as necessary (sometimes you may need a sentence or two to bridge the gaps from one idea to the next).
  • Post-produce the video, adding music and sound effects as desired.

Meridian Support Resources

Meridian Stories provides two forms of support for the student teams:

1.    Media Innovators and Artists – This is a series of three to four minute videos featuring artists and innovative professionals who offer important advice, specifically for Meridian Stories, in the areas of creativity and production.

2.    Meridian Resources – These are short documents that offer student teams key tips in the areas of creativity, production, game design and digital citizenry.

Recommended review, as a team, for this Challenge include:

Meridian Innovators and Artists Media Resource Collection
On Nonfiction – Margaret Heffernan

On Memoir and Nonfiction – Liza Bakewell

On Producing – Tom Pierce

On Editing – Tom Pierce

“Creative Brainstorming Techniques”

“Sound Recording Basics”

“Six Principles of Documentary Filmmaking”

“Video Editing Basics”

Presentation of Learning

Meridian Stories is a proud partner of the non-profit Share Your Learning, which is spearheading the movement of over five million students to publicly share their work as a meaningful part of their educational experience.

The workforce considers Presentational Skills to be a key asset and we encourage you to allow students to practice this skill set as often as possible. These short digital stories provide a great opportunity for kids to practice their public presentational skills.

According to Share Your Learning, Presentations of Learning (POL) promote…

  • Student Ownership, Responsibility & Engagement. POLs can serve as a powerful rite of passage at the end of [a project]. By reflecting on their growth over time in relation to academic and character goals, grounded in evidence from their work, students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning. Just as an artist wants their portfolio to represent their best work, POLs encourage students to care deeply about the work they will share.
  • Community Pride & Involvement. When peers, teachers and community members come together to engage with student work and provide authentic feedback, they become invested in students’ growth and serve as active contributors to the school community.
  • Equity. POLs ensure that all students are seen and provide insight into what learning experiences students find most meaningful and relevant to their lives.

Meridian Stories’ own research indicates this to be a really useful exercise for one additional reason:  Students actually learn from their peers’ presentations – it is useful to hear a perspective that is not just the teacher’s.

It is with this in mind that we you encourage you to plan an event – it could be just an end-of-the-week class or an event where parents, teachers and student peers are invited – to allow the students to showcase their Meridian Stories projects. For more free resources that will support this planning, visit Share Your Learning.

Evaluation Rubric – Tech You


Criteria 8-10
Data Aggregation

and Graphing

Mathematical graphs representing the three or more data categories are accurate, creatively presented, and well-explained
Data Analysis The analysis of the graphs and data is complete, thoughtful, and insightful
Final Reflection The final discussion of technological extensions of self – one’s digital identity – is authentic and insightful




Criteria 1 – 10
The Story of the Graph The story of the graph – the time and ideas that went into collecting the data and then representing it –  is insightful and thought-provoking
Individual Self- Portraits The self-portraits are creative, original, and thoughtfully reflective of the data and conclusions drawn.
The Whole Experience The video ties together the various parts in a compelling way in order to tell a cohesive and honest story about the individuals and the team.



Criteria 1 – 10
Visualization The choice of how to present the story and the quality of the visual mode reflect a thoughtful professionalism


Editing The digital story is edited cleanly and effectively, resulting in an engaging viewing experience


Sound and Music The sound design choices enhance the audience’s engagement with the digital story



HUMAN SKILLS COMMAND (for teachers only)

Criteria 1 – 10
Collaborative Thinking The group demonstrated flexibility in making compromises and valued the contributions of each group member


Creativity and Innovation The group brainstormed many inventive ideas and was able to evaluate, refine and implement them effectively
Initiative and Self-Direction The group set attainable goals, worked independently, and managed their time effectively, demonstrating a disciplined commitment to the project

Essential Questions

  1. What is data and how do you collect, collate and visually represent it in a way that can be understood by others?
  2. What is data analysis, how is it done and why is it important?
    1. How did graphing the data highlight trends and interesting data in this challenge?
  3. What is personal data?
    1. What have you learned through the process of collecting and sharing personal data?
    2. What has monitoring and collecting data about yourself taught you about your own habits?
  4. How are you represented in the digital sphere? How much/what type of information are you giving out and receiving each day without realizing it?
  5. How has immersion in the creation of original content and the production of digital media – exercising one’s creativity, critical thinking, and digital literacy skills – deepened the overall educational experience?
  6. How has working on a team – practicing one’s collaborative skills – changed the learning experience?

Student Proficiencies

  1. The student will have a solid understanding of how to collect, collate and visually represent data in a variety of ways.
  2. The student will understand how to analyze data in order to understand something – a pattern or behavior or narrative – that was not clearly evident before.
    1. This challenge allows for the data to show trends in usage that are unique to individuals as well as show how people of the same age have some areas of overlap in digital identity and some areas of discrepancy that prove individuality and uniqueness.
  3. The student will learn that personal data is a type of data dealing with specific people and their lives, which could range from standard data such as height and weight to more imaginative data such as how many times a person smiles in a day.
    1. The student will be able to articulate what the process of completing this project has taught them about themselves, the ubiquity of data, and connecting with other people.
    2. The student will have a deeper understanding of patterns of their own behavior. They will be able to see where most of their online time is devoted and reflect on their own online choices. They will note the differences between how they previously viewed their interactions online and how they actually interact and spend their time online.
  4. The student will broaden their understanding of how much information they are sharing on the Internet and the aggregated data that companies or other individuals can gather about them. The student will understand more about the ways they use technology everyday to communicate and share pieces of themselves.
  5. The student will utilize Human Skills, with a focus on creativity, critical thinking and digital literacy, in their process of translating scientific content – the data collected – into a story about themselves.
  6. The student will have an increased awareness of the challenges and rewards of team collaboration. Collaboration – the ability to work with others – is considered one of the most important Human Skills to develop in students as they prepare for life after secondary school.

Curricular Correlations

The Tech You Competition addresses a range of curricular objectives that are articulated in Common Core Mathematics Standards and English Language Arts. Below please find the standards that are addressed, either wholly or in part.

Common Core – Mathematics

Statistics and Probability (Grade 6)

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

  • Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots. (6.SP.B.4)
  • Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context, such as by:
    • Reporting the number of observations. (6.SP.B.5.A)
    • Describing the nature of the attribute under investigation, including how it was measured and its units of measurement. (6.SP.B.5.B)
    • Giving quantitative measures of center (median and/or mean) and variability (interquartile range and/or mean absolute deviation), as well as describing any overall pattern and any striking deviations from the overall pattern with reference to the context in which the data were gathered. (6.SP.B.5.C)
    • Relating the choice of measures of center and variability to the shape of the data distribution and the context in which the data were gathered. (6.SP.B.5.D)

Statistics and Probability (Grade 7)

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

  • Informally assess the degree of visual overlap of two numerical data distributions with similar variabilities, measuring the difference between the centers by expressing it as a multiple of a measure of variability. (7.SP.B.3)

Statistics and Probability (Grade 8)

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

  • Construct and interpret scatter plots for bivariate measurement data to investigate patterns of association between two quantities. Describe patterns such as clustering, outliers, positive or negative association, linear association, and nonlinear association. (8.SP.A.1)
  • Know that straight lines are widely used to model relationships between two quantitative variables. For scatter plots that suggest a linear association, informally fit a straight line, and informally assess the model fit by judging the closeness of the data points to the line. (8.SP.A.2)

Functions (Grade 8)

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

  • Construct a function to model a linear relationship between two quantities. (8.F.B.4)

High School – Statistics and Probability

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

  • Represent data with plots on the real number line (dot plots, histograms, and box plots). (HSS.ID.A.1)
  • Fit a linear function for a scatter plot that suggests a linear association. (HSS.ID.B.6.C)


Common Core Curricular Standards – English Language Arts

Standard Grade 8 Grades 9-10 Grades 11-12
Writing 1


Text Types and Purposes

Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Writing 2


Text Types and Purposes

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Speaking & Listening 1


Comprehension and Collaboration

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Speaking & Listening 4


Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.
Speaking & Listening 5


Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.


Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.


Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.


Speaking & Listening 6


Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Language 1


Conventions of Standard English

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.