Back to School with Citizen Science!

As students head back to school, more and more teachers are using citizen science in their classrooms to give students authentic science experiences.
Below, our editors highlight some of the many excellent citizen science projects that work well in classrooms. You can find even more with the SciStarter Global Project Finder.
The SciStarter Team

NOVA offers a variety of projects, covering topics ranging from RNA to renewable energy to evolution. Videos, interactive websites, and online resources are all available for teachers. Ages: middle school and up.

Photo: Lauren Nichols
Students Discover
Students Discover offers projects about animals that are sure to ignite students’ interest in science. With lesson plans and hands-on activities, these projects are a great fit for any classroom.  Ages: elementary and up.

Photo: J. Hulcr
Backyard Beetles 
With just a few inexpensive supplies, US students can construct a trap to monitor and catch bark beetles, some of which can have a devastating effect on forests and agricultural farms. The main trapping season is in spring but students are welcome to set traps throughout the year. Ages: elementary and up.

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network collects precipitation data from across the United States and Canada, and it’s a terrific way to get students involved in real science shared with the National Weather Service.  Ages: elementary and up.

Lost Ladybug Project
North America is home to both native and non-native ladybugs. Finding and photographing these ladybugs is a good learning experience for students of all ages, and the project’s resources help educators cover topics on biodiversity, ecology, and conservation. Ages: elementary and up.

Photo: Neon
Project Budburst
When do trees leaf out? When do wildflowers bloom? With Project BudBurst, students can study how plants progress with the seasons and if they are affected by climate change. Ages: elementary and up.

Photo: KIC-NET
Keep It Clean- Neighborhood Environmental Trios engages students in monitoring and cleaning up local waterways. The project is currently active in schools in Albuquerque, Denver, and Washington DC. Ages: elementary through high school.

Want more citizen science? Check out this new, low-cost book on Amazon!  And, check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Categories: Citizen Science, Education, Newsletter


About the Author

Eva Lewandowski

Eva Lewandowski

Eva Lewandowski is the Citizen-based Monitoring Coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, where she coordinates a statewide citizen science network. She has a PhD in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota and is an active volunteer.