The phrase “data analysis” gets no one except for the most numbers-happy people excited. Rather than having students simply stare at data sets and try to develop statements from them, consider having your students create visual representations of those data sets. Google Maps Engine Lite is well suited to visual data analysis. Google Maps Engine Lite allows you to import a spreadsheet and have the data within it displayed on a Google Map. Google Maps Engine Lite supports creating three layers of placemarks. Use those multiple layers to compare sets of data like 1990 census information with 2000 census information. Click here for complete directions on using Google Maps Engine Lite.
Another option for mapping data sets can be found in the IBM program, Many Eyes. Many Eyes is an online data visualization tool developed by IBM. Many Eyes provides tools for creating a wide variety of data visualizations including maps by using your data sets or data sets hosted by IBM. If you’re not interested in creating visualizations but just want to explore the visualizations created by others, you can do that on Many Eyes too.