Engaging Students through Citizen Science

This morning, a friend sent me a link to an article from Kid Gardening.org, a site that “helps young minds grow”.  The article, Engaging Students through Citizen Science , highlights the benefits–to educators AND students–of participating in citizen science projects:

[Students] think and act like scientists as they make careful observations, ask their own questions, look for patterns, try to make sense of data, and link their local observations to larger global issues. Some participants learn geography and mapping skills as they track migrations or other events on real-time maps. Besides honing their science and technology skills, students are motivated to read, count, calculate, and communicate. They also learn about being collaborators; environmental stewards; and engaged local, national, and global citizens. Oh, and they have fun, to boot! “The children get so involved that teaching is easy,” says one teacher. “It’s the most motivating type of project you can do.”

The article includes links to getting started guides and the author’s favorite citizen science sites, including ScienceForCitizens.net which she describes as “a brand new Web site that aims to be a one-stop shop for those wanting to advertise citizen science projects and those seeking to participate. The site’s Project Finder enables you to search for projects by topic, location, time commitment, difficulty, suitability for students, and more”.

So, teachers, let us help you find a citizen science activity just perfect for your class. Check out our growing list of projects (and check back frequently as new projects are added every week!).

Categories: Citizen Science, Education, In the News, Science Education Standards

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About the Author

Darlene Cavalier

Darlene Cavalier

Darlene Cavalier is a Professor at Arizona State University's Center for Engagement and Training, part of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Cavalier is the founder of SciStarter. She is also the founder of Science Cheerleader, an organization of more than 300 current and former professional cheerleaders pursuing STEM careers, and a cofounder of ECAST: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology, a network of universities, science centers, and think tanks that produces public deliberations to enhance science policymaking. She is a founding board member of the Citizen Science Association, a senior advisor at Discover Magazine, a member of the EPA's National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, and was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences "Designing Citizen Science to Support Science Learning" committee. She is the author of The Science of Cheerleading and co-editor of The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science, published by Arizona State University. Darlene holds degrees from Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania and was a high school, college and NBA cheerleader. Darlene lives in Philadelphia with her husband and four children.