Investigating Science in the Community: Providing Meaningful Contexts for Students to Engage in the Processes of Science
Jones, Gail, Childers, Gina, Stevens, Vanessa, Whitley, Blake, The Science Teacher
Citizen science programs are becoming increasingly popular among teachers, students, and families. The term citizen scientist has various definitions. It can refer to those who gather information for a particular science research study or to people who lobby for environmental protection for their communities (Bonney et al. 2009; Holohan and Garg 2005). Citizen science has been called "community-centered science," "community science participatory community-action research," "street science," "traditional ecological knowledge, social justice, scientific literacy, and humanistic science education" (Mueller, Tip-pins, and Bryan 2012, p. 12).
Below are numerous examples of citizen science projects that provide meaningful, authentic contexts for students to engage in the processes of science. These examples all include the task of collecting and sharing data with scientists and others. They cover a myriad of topics. Teachers can use these or others as part of a laboratory, field, or supplemental learning experience, or as an independent investigation.
Examples of citizen science programs
Some citizen science projects address nationwide data collection, such as Firefly Watch, hosted by the Museum of Science in Boston (see "On the web") to track the geographic distribution and activity of fireflies. Other projects are more local in scope, such as NC CRONOS (see "On the web"), in which North Carolina residents submit information to a website that monitors severe weather.
Another community-based program is the Neighborhood Box Turtle Watch (see "On the web"), in which students who …
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Publication information: Article title: Investigating Science in the Community: Providing Meaningful Contexts for Students to Engage in the Processes of Science. Contributors: Jones, Gail - Author, Childers, Gina - Author, Stevens, Vanessa - Author, Whitley, Blake - Author. Journal title: The Science Teacher. Volume: 79. Issue: 9 Publication date: December 2012. Page number: 36+. © 2009 National Science Teachers Association. COPYRIGHT 2012 Gale Group.
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