Teacher Discussion Resources

Discussion Type 1: Terms

Here is a list of the terms that we encourage teachers to discuss with their students, preferably after students have played a round of the game:


Information collected for analysis or reference. In the game, the songs represent the data that is being collected and analyzed based on their features.

  • Prompts:
    • What do you think data is?
    • Did you think of data while playing the music game?
    • Can you think of an example of data from the music game?

Metadata is data that provides information about other data. For example, the mood of a song, the length of a song, or the language of a song are all metadata about the song.

  • Prompts:
    • Do you know what metadata is?
    • Can you think of some examples of metadata in the music game?

Variables refer to factors or features that can vary or change. For example, when recording a song, things that can change about the song include the genre, the mood, the instrument, etc.

  • Prompts:
    • What do you think a variable is?
    • What are some variables in the context of purchasing market data?

In English, a query represents a question or inquiry. In the context of this game, a query represents an inquiry into a data store or database to extract specific data entries that meet specified criteria.

  • Prompts:
    • What are some queries you used?
    • What are some of the criteria you specified in the queries?

A pattern of change in a process or a tendency of data points to move in a certain direction over time, generally represented  by a graph

  • About the Chart types
    • Line (what it shows, what it is good for)
    • Heat map
    • Bar charts
About the Chart Types

Line (what it shows, what is it good for)

Heat Map

Bar Charts

  • Prompts:
    • How many of you used a line graph in the game? How many used a heat map? How many used bar charts?
    • Which graph did you find most useful? Why?
    • Can you think of a scenario when you would want to use a heat map rather than a line graph?

Here are some terms used in the game that we encourage teachers to be familiar with:

  • Artist – Start by signing artist to your label
  • Marketing – Market research collects more data on what Boroughs are listening to help predict future sales.
  • Recording – Work with your artist to record songs that will be popular in the parts of town you will launch them.
  • Boroughs – The neighborhoods in fictional Empire City
  • Upgrades – Train your artist to create new moods and address new topics
  • Genre – Different types of music such as Rock, R&B, Pop, Hip Hop, Rap and Electronic are produced in the studio
  • Next Week – Once a player selects the music to record, new artist to sign, and new marketing data they can forward to their next turn with the “Next Week” button in the bottom right corner.
  • Storage Space – To collect more data
  • Trends – to look at what music is trending encourage studnets to click on the “TRENDS” button the lower left corner.  There they can look at different bouroughs data on music genre, topic and mood. They can explore this data with a bar graph, line graph or on the map.

Discussion Type 2: Leveraging Context

What do your students already know? A few introductory questions:

  1. When you listen to a song on Spotify, what kinds of information do you think spotify might collect about what you did?
  2. What kinds of information about your relationship to music might be stored in your social media (Instagram, Twitter) account? What might be stored in your music player (iTunes, Spotify) account?
  3. Show a trends graph — what does this tell you about “what’s trending” in music?
  4. Suppose you are helping an artist become more popular.  What kind of insights might data give you to help that artist?

Discussion Type 3:  Think/Pair/Share Scenarios

Scenario 1

The music studio is about to release a song by one of its artists <> in the <> genre. They want to offer a promotional discount in the two neighborhoods where the song is least likely to be popular. How does the studio figure out where this type of song will be least popular?

–   Do you have the data you need to make a decision, or do you want to collect any data? What data do you want to collect? What query do you need to run?

Scenario 2

The Brooklyn council is organizing a music festival and want to invite the 3 most popular artists in Brooklyn in the last 6 months. How can they figure out who these 3 artists are?

Scenario 3

The local radio hosts a show with Jazz music every afternoon. Every Monday, it wants to add a short interview with the top jazz artist of the previous week. Can you help the radio channel figure out who the top jazz artist is every week?

Scenario 4

The music studio wants to sign a famous new artist in one of the genres that have had least number of followers in the last quarter. How can you help the studio manager figure out which genre had the least number of follower last quarter?

Scenario 5

Every month, our computer can generate a report automatically and mail it to our manager, whose top goal for the next six months is “to expand the number of neighborhoods in which our songs have twice as many listens as they did last month”….  What instructions would you give to the computer programmer about how to make this automatic report? Be as specific as possible.

Scenario 6

Make a hint sheet for the next group of students who will see this game. What can you tell them to accelerate their use of computing ideas to succeed in the game? Perhaps there are some thing you still don’t quite understanding. What would be helpful if they could figure it out?

Follow the KWL: “What do we know? What do we need to know? How could a computer help us?” See: KWL