Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP)

CODAPData are everywhere! CODAP provides an easy-to-use web-based data analysis platform, geared toward middle and high school students, and aimed at teachers and curriculum developers. CODAP can be incorporated across the curriculum to help students summarize, visualize and interpret data, advancing their skills to use data as evidence to support a claim. Just as language and numeric literacy involve understanding the world through words and mathematical constructs, data literacy involves understanding the world through data exploration. Today’s middle and high school students need to work with data in order to advance their skills and prepare for the burgeoning careers and inquiry-based practices of data scientists.
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Through research on learning, collaborative software design, web application development and user testing, we’re developing a Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP) that will serve subsequent curriculum development projects as a basis for the technology with which students engage with data.

CODAP is open source software, free to use, adapt and extend.To increase the likelihood that CODAP software will meet the needs of a wide range of curriculum projects it is being designed and tested in collaboration with four existing NSF-funded projects: InquirySpace, Ocean Tracks, Terra Populus and Building Models. These projects form the nucleus of a community of developers that will grow with time and lead to widespread use of CODAP’s data exploration and visualization tools in middle and high school classrooms across a variety of subject areas.

Principal Investigators

William Finzer
Dan Damelin

Project Inquiries

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1435470. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

How to cite this material.


The Concord Consortium (n.d.) Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP). Retrieved 2015, June 30 from

Disclaimer: The Concord Consortium offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure.

Research on learners’ conceptions of data has not kept pace with the increasing importance of data fluency in students’ education. CODAP is adding to our foundational knowledge in this area by improving our understanding of how learners conceive of and work with empirical data that is structured hierarchically. The two graphs illustrate such a hierarchical structure in the context of multiple runs of a forest fire simulation. In the left-hand graph each point represents one simulation while in the right-hand graph each point is a measurement of the percent of the forest burned at a given time. These are, respectively, the upper and lower levels of a hierarchy.

This way of thinking about data is fundamental and ubiquitous in science and engineering. Yet how students come to understand the underlying data structure has yet to be researched, and thus there is a lack of empirical evidence to guide design of software interfaces to facilitate its understanding.

CODAP is researching the ways students perceive and learn to work with this type of data. Our goals are to add to the field of data science education and to improve the design of data analysis learning environments. Research is being conducted in classroom tests of curricular units using data contexts from within each project. A series of qualitative studies using cognitive interviews with middle and high school students will take place in the first two years of the project, a pilot study in a summer class in year 2, and a larger, confirmatory study during a field test in year 3. We hypothesize that user interface design of the representation of hierarchical data structures is strongly tied to the ability of learners to track levels of empirical data. Read more »

In STEM education it’s essential to engage students in undertaking their own projects. But data exploration is often a neglected aspect of student project work. Students must look for patterns in the raw data, identify possible errors and plan further experiments. They also need to add, combine and remove data; transform the data; match datasets to idealized curves and more. The Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP) helps students explore their data. Designed to run in a web browser, CODAP is an easy-to-use, open source data exploration environment.

Getting Data into CODAP is easy. Just drag a text file into the data exploration environment or embed a simulation or game that generates data directly into CODAP. CODAP runs in HTML5 and JavaScript. You can import data or generate data using a simulation or embed an iframe into CODAP. By dropping the simulation’s URL into CODAP, as an embedded iFrame you can easily use CODAP’s graphs to explore the data. Learn more »

Students can explore data with tables, graphs and maps. They can model data with plotted functions, computations and sliders. And they can document their work directly in CODAP or by embedding CODAP’s fully interactive components in their own web pages.

Try CODAP yourself by following the links here. Click the "Guest" button to get started. While there, check out the Help Videos found in the gear menu on the toolbar, which showcase some of the many CODAP tools in more depth.

Design Principles

Representations link dynamically across tables, graphs and maps. Click on a point in the table and it’s automatically selected in each graph, map or other representation!

CODAP is an open-ended tool for data exploration and discovery. It can be embedded in lessons in a variety of ways.

The CODAP community currently includes four collaborating projects. CODAP relies on participation of an ever-expanding community of multiple collaborators. Contact us to explore partnership possibilities and more.

The InquirySpace project at the Concord Consortium develops digital software and curriculum that lead to scaffolded science inquiry. This project has been using CODAP’s predecessor software since 2012.

The Building Models project at the Concord Consortium is developing a systems dynamics modeling tool for secondary school students to construct dynamic models. Students will validate and iteratively refine their models by comparing outputs from their own models with data from one or more other sources, including experimental data from probes or data generated by simulations. To facilitate iterative model development, the systems dynamics tool and the external data sources will be embedded in CODAP.

The Ocean Tracks project at EDC already has online software and curriculum materials immersing high school students in an interdisciplinary study of marine biology based on GPS data from elephant seals, tuna, albatross and other large sea animals. CODAP is using this project’s experience to inform the development of map and measurement capabilities. Amy Busey, Randy Kochevar and Josephine Louie contribute to CODAP from OceanTracks.

The Terra Populus project at the Minnesota Population Center makes possible research that depends on integration of data for individual people drawn from censuses, area data that summarize demographics, environmental measures for states and environmental data gleaned from satellite photos. The collaboration with CODAP will lead to a website aimed at introducing students to this vast source of rich data. Katie Genadek and Tracy Kugler lead this project.

Get involved!

Curriculum Developers: If you’re developing online curriculum materials that engage students with data, you belong to CODAP’s primary target audience.

Software Developers: If you’re creating software for learning about data, we invite you to leverage current work and add capabilities to the open source CODAP software.

Education Researchers: CODAP is already being used by researchers to visualize log data from online learning materials. Do you have data? CODAP can help.

Teachers: Try Data Games and InquirySpace materials. They’re free and ready to use in your classroom or go to the CODAP portal to explore a few activities.

Students: We are always looking to improve and would love for you to play with CODAP so that we can learn from you. We conduct usability and classroom tests, so if you’re interested in playing with the software, let us know!

Let us know if you'd like to get involved!

Our Team

The CODAP team is distributed in both expertise and geography.

  • Principal Investigators: Bill Finzer, Dan Damelin
  • Project Manager: Rina Hoffer
  • Research Team: Joan Heller, Nicole Wong, Cliff Konold
  • Senior Software Engineer: Jonathan Sandoe
  • Software Tester: Evangeline Ireland


These shared CODAP documents will give you a sense of what is possible within CODAP. Each will open in a separate tab. Log in as a guest.

Markov Game Play Roshambo against the evil Dr. Markov. If you win, you can save Madeline the dog. Improve your odds by analyzing Markov's moves in a graph.
Parachute Model Experiment with dropping a parachute to see how changing the parachute's size and mass of its cargo changes the terminal velocity of the drop.
Four Seals Display the tracks of four elephant seals swimming in the Pacific, on a map. Make graphs and use selection to help determine what is going on.
Mammals There are 27 mammals, each with eight attributes. Which of the mammals has the longest life span? Sleeps the most? What relationships can you find?
Map Data These are data gathered from the Minnesota Population Center. It provides aggregate information for the United States. What do you notice about the education levels within each state?


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