Students learn that ordinary citizens, including students like themselves, can make meaningful contributions to science through the concept of "citizen science." First, students learn some examples of ongoing citizen science projects that are common around the world, such as medical research, medication testing and donating idle computer time to perform scientific calculations. Then they explore Zooniverse, an interactive website that shows how research in areas from marine biology to astronomy leverage the power of the Internet to use the assistance of non-scientists to classify large amounts of data that is unclassifiable by machines for various reasons. To conclude, student groups act as engineering teams to brainstorm projects ideas for their own town that could benefit from community help, then design conceptual interactive websites that could organize and support the projects.
Students use the free computer game Pingus to learn how engineers, specifically environmental engineers, use their technical writing skills to give instructions and follow the instructions of others. Students learn to write instructions to express their ideas in clear, organized ways using descriptive, un-ambiguous sentences, as an example of one type of technical writing that important for engineers. The students write instructions enumerating how to beat a game level, which represents surveying that level for environmental problems. As a test of their instructions, students review each others' instructions and offer suggestions for improvement, and then revise their instructions to make them better. Students also see some examples of environmental problems.