Citizen Science

Citizen Science Central

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This site is a gateway to projects involving public participants in real-world research, with hopes of fostering connections for sharing ideas and resources.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Case Study, Diagram/Illustration, Game, Interactive, Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Unit of Study

Citizen Science with Zooniverse

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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.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: GK-12 INSIGHT Program,, Paul Cain, Yasche Glass, Jennifer Nider, Sujatha Prakash, Lori Rice

Climate Change and Citizen Science

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This animation describes how citizen observations can document the impact of climate change on plants and animals. It introduces the topic of phenology and data collection, the impact of climate change on phenology, and how individuals can become citizen scientists.

Material Type: Simulation

The Impact of Culture on Connecting to the Environment

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Developing environmentally literate citizens is the primary goal of environmental science.  One of the four components of environmental literacy is "connecting to nature".  Culture plays a key role in the way individuals connect to their environment.  Understanding culture also supports the development of a culturally responsive classroom and helps students develop an understanding of environmental justice, another key concept of environmental science.  This lesson helps students explore their own culture and compare and contrast it with other cultures.

Material Type: Interactive, Learning Task, Lesson Plan

Symbiosis in the Soil

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In this project, students will assume the role of citizen scientists—helping researchers answer questions about how dandelions acquire beneficial symbiotic microbes from different soil types. Students will collect and transplant dandelions, conduct experiments on dandelion growth and microbe growth, and then submit data to scientists at the Genomics and Microbiology Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The researchers will use these data to supplement DNA and RNA sequencing efforts. Students will receive results from the genetic analyses from a limited set of classrooms whose dandelions had previously been sequenced. By maintaining a connection with researchers, students will have an active, hands-on role in current science. Besides aiding scientists with research, students will also create their own inquiries.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Authors: Amy Lawson, Arthina Blanchard, Laura Cochrane

Journey North: A Global Study of Wildlife Migration and Seasonal Change

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Journey North engages students in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. K-12 students become involved in citizen science and share their own field observations with classmates across North America. They track the coming of the seasons through the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, robins, hummingbirds, whooping cranes, gray whales, bald eagles— and other birds and mammals; the budding of plants; changing sunlight; and other natural events. Find migration maps, pictures, standards-based lesson plans, activities and information to help students make local observations and fit them into a global context.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

The Pollen Project

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The goals of the International OER Exchange Pilot project are to: facilitate the development and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) by teachers and students globally, track the development and use of the science learning materials and data collection, especially around climate change study, created in the project through OER Commons, and highlight the process and results through workshops and conference presentations.The broader purpose of the project is to support the international exchange of information and understanding through freely available resources among teachers and students, especially in the area of environmental science and climate change investigation.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Homework/Assignment, Lesson Plan, Simulation, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Project Budburst

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Project Budburst is a national network of people monitoring plants as the seasons change. Data is collected in a consistent manner across the country so that scientists can learn more about the responsiveness of plant species to changes in climate locally, regionally, and nationally. The website includes extensive educational resources for implementing the project within various classroom and informal settings.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Interactive

Authors: Chicago Botanic Garden, NEON