DIY “Recipes” For Real Science That Needs You

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You’re a DOER! We love that about you.Nothing can stop you…not even a lack of access to specialized, low-cost tools needed to fully engage in citizen science.

Below, we present ways you can build tools and kits to help you help scientists answer pressing questions.

Roll up those sleeves to take on these DIY challenges— everything from inkjet printers MacGyvered into bio-printers to unappetizing bowls of flour and water transformed into yummy loaves of sourdough bread to help study microbes.

Happy Making!
The SciStarter Team

Photo credit: Angelo Esslinger from Pixabay

CanAirIO provides a step-by-step guide to build your own inexpensive air quality monitor.

Learn more, watch the tutorial (in English and Spanish!), and then access materials using SciStarter’s new tools database.

Location: Global

Get Started!

As if bees don’t already have enough to worry about, parasitic fly infections are turning them into nocturnal, light-seeking “zombees.” Help scientists study this problem by building and deploying your own ZomBee Watch Kit.

Location: North America

Get Started!

Join the international EarthEcho Water Challenge to monitor and help protect our valuable water resources. An inexpensive kit provides everything you need to get started.

Photo credit: EarthEcho International

Location: Global

Get Started!

The Mosquito Habitat Mapper app, supported by NASA, features a DIY mosquito eradication kit. Follow in-app instructions and use household materials to remove small pockets of standing water where invasive, Zika-carrying mosquitoes breed.

Location: Global

Get Started!

BioPrinting is like 3D printing, but with squishier ingredients! Our friends at BioCurious will show you how to build your own bioprinter with parts from old inkjet printers and CD players and get you started with some simple projects and experiments.

Photo credit: CC BY-SA BioCurious

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Some citizen science projects require specialized tools to make an observation, record data, and more. The SciStarter Tools database will help you discover and access low cost tools, providing information about how you can build, borrow, or buy them. Makers and manufacturers can add tools, too.

Location: Global

Get Started!

Still looking for more opportunities to exercise your creative impulses? Participating libraries have the project kits you need! Check ’em out!

And if your local library doesn’t have kits yet, ask the librarian to contact us at so we can help bring citizen science to them!

Get Started!

From July 6-August 9, join the Cornell K-12 Lab for a virtual educators’ retreat about citizen science and inquiry!

Scholarships are available and you’ll receive CEU credit from Cornell University upon completion.

Get Started!

Learn how you (as a student, faculty, or program administrator) can use citizen science in higher ed. SciStarter, North Carolina State University, and Blue Thumb (an Oklahoma-based water monitoring project) will share ideas about how to engage in meaningful learning and research experiences in a webinar hosted by Rogers State University and Oklahoma State University.

July 10,12:00 PM CT

Get Started!

Learn more! National Geographic and SciStarter are also partnering to help you embark on your own expedition by participating in National Geographic Society–supported citizen science projects. By engaging in these projects, you can help advance scientific research by collecting or analyzing data around biodiversity and human pressures.!

Photo credit: National Geographic

Get Started!

Free Facebook Profile Frame

This new frame let’s you share your love for citizen science AND help your Facebook friends easily find opportunities to get involved in thousands of projects.

Tag “@SciStarter” on Facebook and use the #CitSciMonth and #CitizenScience hashtags for a chance to win a free copy of The Field Guide to Citizen Science book.

Try it!

New on the Blogs

The Science of Making a Wild Sourdough Starter, via Discover Magazine

Black Birders, Scientists Push for Equality, via Science Connected

Citizen Science with SciStarter

Did you know your SciStarter dashboard helps you track your contributions to projects? Complete your profile to access free tools. Want even more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Categories: Citizen Science, Do-It-Yourself, Tools

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About the Author

Bob Hirshon

Bob Hirshon

Bob Hirshon heads up Springtail Media, specializing in science media and digital entertainment. He is Principal Investigator for the NSF-supported National Park Science Challenge, an augmented reality adventure that takes place in National Parks. Hirshon headed up the Kinetic City family of science projects, including the Peabody Award winning children’s radio drama Kinetic City Super Crew, McGraw-Hill book series and Codie Award winning website and education program. Hirshon can be heard on XM/Sirius Radio’s Kids Place Live as “Bob the Science Slob”, sharing science news and answering children’s questions. At SciStarter, Bob edits the Citizen Science Podcast.