SciStarter Blog http://scistarter.com/blog Covering the people, projects, and phenomena of citizen science Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:38:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Citizen Science 2015 meeting: proposal deadline approachinghttp://scistarter.com/blog/2014/09/citizen-science-2015-meeting-proposal-deadline-approaching/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/09/citizen-science-2015-meeting-proposal-deadline-approaching/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:38:23 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10380 Mark your calendars for Citizen Science 2015, the first meeting of the Citizen Science Association (CSA). The meeting will take place on February 11th-12th in San Jose California, a pre-conference to AAAS’s annual meeting. The two-day event will focus on “building connections and exchanging ideas across a wide spectrum of disciplines and experiences”. Anyone interested […]

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Cit Sci Poster

Mark your calendars for Citizen Science 2015, the first meeting of the Citizen Science Association (CSA). The meeting will take place on February 11th-12th in San Jose California, a pre-conference to AAAS’s annual meeting. The two-day event will focus on “building connections and exchanging ideas across a wide spectrum of disciplines and experiences”. Anyone interested or involved in citizen science is encouraged to attend. This includes researchers, project organizers, educators, and citizen science participants to name a few. A range of disciplines is expected to be represented.

CSA ‘s mission is to advance “understanding, value and participation in citizen science”. To this end, CSA is working on establishing a global community of citizen science practitioners to help bolster support, awareness and improve the field of citizen science. Citizen Science 2015 will focus on six themes relating to these goals.

The themes as listed on their website:

  1. Tackling grand challenges and everyday problems with citizen science.
  2. Broadening engagement to foster diversity and inclusion.
  3. Making education and lifelong learning connections.
  4. Digital opportunities and challenges in citizen science.
  5. Research on evaluation of the citizen science experience.
  6. Best practices for designing, implementing and managing citizen science projects and programs.

Detailed descriptions of each theme are available on the conference website.

The meeting will include both formal and informal presentations including key note talks, panel discussions, posters, speed talks and story telling sessions. There will be organized networking, mentoring and social gatherings giving attendees ample opportunity to exchange ideas and perspectives, and make valuable connections.

Organizers are accepting proposals for presentations and are eager to have diverse points of views represented. Individuals are limited to one submission for a talk, poster, speed talk or story session and one submission for a symposium or panel discussion. Submission guidelines and the online form are available here. Submissions are due by September 15th.

If you do not have an idea for a presentation, you can help by being a proposal reviewer. Reviewers would need to commit just a few hours from mid to late September to review a selection of the submitted 300-word proposals. Details and contact information are provided here.

As for the conference itself, registration information will be posted on their website or you can join CSA to receive directly conference updates. CSA membership is free and as inaugural members you will have the unique opportunity to shape the priorities and goals of this developing organization.

You can download the official conference flyer here to help spread the word.

CSA is accepting donations to help support the Citizen Science 2015. Make a donation through their website or learn about other ways to support.

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Citizen Science in the Classrom: Mapping Mars and Be a Martian with NASAhttp://scistarter.com/blog/2014/09/citizen-science-classroom-be-a-martian-nasa/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/09/citizen-science-classroom-be-a-martian-nasa/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 00:04:38 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10389 Editor’s Note: This post has been republished and shared in celebration of SciStarter’s Back To School campaign where you will find 10 citizen science projects aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.   Students Explore the Surface of Mars and Contribute to Citizen Science From Their Classroom Grades: 1st -12th Description: The National Aeronautics and Space […]

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Editor’s Note: This post has been republished and shared in celebration of SciStarter’s Back To School campaign where you will find 10 citizen science projects aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.

 

Students Explore the Surface of Mars and Contribute to Citizen Science From Their Classroom

Mars Rover main page

Grades:

1st -12th

Description:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is asking for help in processing data collected on Mars, in the form of pictures taken by the Mars Rovers, Spirit and Curiosity. On the “Be a Martian” home page there is a dashboard where teachers or students may create an account with a Martian profile, complete with choosing your alien. Each action, associated with a profile, is given points or virtual badges for participating. Creating a profile is not necessary, you may also participate as a “Martian tourist.”  After registering (or not) you will be taken to their Citizenship Hall, which has links for pages with polling, a “theater” with video clips about the rovers, the ability to create a post card to send to the rover Spirit, and an Atlas with geographic information about Mars. Accessed from the Citizenship Hall is the, the second major page of their website, the “Map Room.”  In the map room there is an introductory video about the program and students have the opportunity to try their hands at three types of Martian mapping. These include aligning photos to match topographic images, counting craters, and tagging physical features of the landscape.

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Computer or computers with internet access.
  • Projector or smart board may be useful for working as a class.
  • Color printer

Why This Citizen Science Project is a Strong Candidate for the Classroom:

  • This project can be done in any setting, rural or urban.
  • No special tools are required outside of a computer with internet access.
  • Students gain a “sense of place” through learning about space and other planets.
  • NASA provides a great deal of supporting curriculum, hand-outs, posters, and multi-media resources.

Teaching Materials:

Teaching materials that are supplied on Citizenship website, for the “Be a Martian” project, include a Mars atlas with descriptions of different parts of the planet’s surface and the “Two Moons” theater. There are eight different videos in the theater, ranging from testing the Curiosity’s parachute to students designing human settlements on Mars.

There is also an Educators Page, accessed from the Mars Exploration home page.  However it has an extensive curriculum for K-12 as well as supporting resources. Here are just some of the lessons included:

  • Reflect on Your Community- Design a plan for an Earth community and discuss how it would be made on Mars.
  • Solar System Scale and Size- Create a model of the solar system that compares size and distance.
  • Soda Straw Rockets-creating rockets from soda straws.
  • Marsbound-Using a card game to design a mission and get everyone home safely.
  • Lava Layering-Modeling lava flow and layering using play dough.
  • Rover Races-Drawing and designing a rover to meet challenges on the surface of Mars.
  • Mars Image Analysis-using images to analyze Mar’s surface environment.

NASA also provides resources for the classroom including the “Mars Activity Book.” This is a 131 page document which is full of even more activities and lesson plans K-12. You can also find coloring pages and posters. For 5th-12th grade there is even the option of joining the Mars Student Imaging Project and which would allow your class to actually take pictures from the Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Mars tagging screen shot

In the Mars Mapping room students can tag topographic features of the surface of Mars.

Online Safety for Children

The Mars Mapping project allows students and teachers to create their own accounts or to use an “Anonymous Tourist Visa.”  The account website sorts students into 0-13 years or 14+ years. For the 0-13 yr. old students, they must provide a parent or guardian’s e-mail. In the sign up process they are also required to take an “oath” that they won’t give out information about themselves, treat others nicely, and not use bad words or say means things. For older participants they can use their own e-mail but they also agree to respect everyone and follow their code of conduct. The use of accounts appears designed to encourage student challenges for obtaining points and badges which may encourage participation. Learn more about children’s online privacy and citizen science.

Images: NASA.gov

Common Core and Next Gen. Standards Met:

First Grade

Next. Gen. Science: 1-ESS1-1 Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted. The curriculum activities provided by NASA about Solar System Scale  & Size may give students a frame of reference for comparison of the brightness of the sun compared to other planets and stars, and why the sun and moon appear to rise and set. Students may make predictions regarding the movement of Mars and Earth relative to other stars and planets.

Common Core:

Literacy:  W.1.7 Participate in a shared research and writing projects. W.1.8 with guidance and support from adults, recall information from experience or gather information from provided sources to answer a question (See Next. Gen. activities listed above).

Math: MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively (See Next. Gen. activities listed above).

Second Grade:

Next. Gen. Science: K-2-ETS1-1 Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to design a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool. Using the “Imagine Mars” lessons and support materials provided on the NASA website students should create design solutions for humans to live on Mars. These designs should be a group collaboration using research about the planet. Students should write a report about their design solution.

Common Core:

Literacy:  W.2.6 with guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing in collaboration with peers (See Next. Gen. activities listed above).

Mars counting craters

Counting and Mapping craters in the Martian Map Room.

Fourth Grade:

Next. Gen. Science: 4-ESS2-2 Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features. Students may make observations about bodies of water, craters, lakes, volcanoes, and other topographical features of Earth, and then compare these features using the Mars Mapping activities to make inferences about the similarities and differences between the two planets. The NASA images database of Mars may be useful, as well as the 3 D images, as well as the information provided for characterizing the climate and geology of Mars.

Common Core:

Literacy:  W.4.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic. W.4.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (See explanation of activities for Next Gen. above)

Math: MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively (See explanation of activities for Next Gen. above).

Fifth Grade:

Next. Gen. Science: 5-ESS1-1 Support an argument that differences in the apparent brightness of the sun compared to other stars is due to their relative distance from the Earth. 5-ESS1-2 Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky. The curriculum activities provided about Solar System Scale  & Size may give students a frame of reference for comparison of the brightness of the sun compared to other planets and stars. Students may make predictions regarding the movement of Mars and Earth relative to other stars and planets. Graphs may be constructed of constellations and where they may be seen at different times for both Mars and Earth.

Common Core:

Literacy:  RI.5.7-Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly to solve a problem efficiently. W.5.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. SL.5.5 Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes. (See explanation of activities above for Next Gen).

Math: MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively, MP.4 Model with mathematics. (See explanation of activities above for Next Gen).

Middle School

MS-PS2-4 Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects. MS-ESS1-2 Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system. Teachers may have students use the resources from NASA’s website with quick facts to research the properties of the planet Mars, from density to orbit, conjunction, and retrograde. The curriculum activities provided about Solar System Scale  & Size may give students frames of reference for comparison. Students may make mathematical predictions regarding the movement of Mars and Earth relative to the data collected.

MS-ESS1-3 Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system. The curriculum activities provided by NASA about Solar System Scale  & Size may give students frames of reference for comparison. Students may make mathematical predictions regarding the movement of Mars and Earth relative to the data collected.

MT-ETS1-1 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that might limit possible solutions.  MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. Using the “Imagine Mars” lessons and support materials provided on the NASA website students should create design solutions for humans to live on Mars. These designs should then be compared and the solutions assessed using a rubric which the students develop.

High School

HS-ESS1-4 Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system. Common Core (WHST.9-12.2) (SL 11-12.4) (MP.2) (MP.4) (HSN-Q.A.1-3). Teachers may have students use the resources from NASA’s website with quick facts to research the properties of the planet Mars, from density to orbit, conjunction, and retrograde. The curriculum activities provided about Solar System Scale  & Size may give students frames of reference for comparison. Students may make mathematical predictions regarding the movement of Mars and Earth relative to the data collected.


When not writing her blog The Infinite Spider, Karen McDonald is a guest blogger, curriculum developer, science content editor, and outdoor educator with over thirteen years in informal science education. She has an MS in Biology and a BS in Environmental Science and Philosophy. Currently she works for Smithsonian and contracts for Discovery Channel. 

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Citizen Science in The Classroom: Monarch Migrationhttp://scistarter.com/blog/2014/09/citizen-science-classroom-monarch-migration-2/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/09/citizen-science-classroom-monarch-migration-2/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 02:19:14 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10376 Editor’s Note: This post has been republished and shared in celebration of SciStarter’s Back To School campaign where you will find 10 citizen science projects aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.   Using Journey North’s Monarch Project to Meet Common Core and Next Generation Teaching Standards Citizen Science and Monarch Migration as a Teaching Tool […]

Find more posts like Citizen Science in The Classroom: Monarch Migration by Karen McDonald on the SciStarter Blog. Your source for citizen science and other science you can do.

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Editor’s Note: This post has been republished and shared in celebration of SciStarter’s Back To School campaign where you will find 10 citizen science projects aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.

 

Using Journey North’s Monarch Project to Meet Common Core and Next Generation Teaching Standards

Journey North 3

Journey North supports a variety of citizen science projects, including monarch migration. (Photo: Journey North)

Citizen Science and Monarch Migration as a Teaching Tool

Grades:

K-12th

Description:

Journey North (JN) is a citizen science project for the observation and tracking of seasonal weather changes and phenology or life cycle changes in animals and plants. This website is an amazing resource and interactive platform for teachers. There’s so much information that they provide that it’s almost jaw dropping. On their site you’ll find how your class can participate in tracking everything from seasonal changes in daylight to migrations of humming birds, whales, and even flower blooming. One of the most popular citizen science projects on their site is the monarch butterfly project. In this project students and teachers can learn about the life cycles of monarchs, their natural history, and migration. Students may look for monarchs in their local area and report observations of eggs, larvae, pupa, and adults. This project encompasses much more than just observations. The content provided on their site includes geography, historical and real-time data, ecological conservation, life cycles, reading comprehension and more.

Journey north 4

Journey North support real-time data and mapping of monarch sightings, which are useful geography tools for the classroom. (Photo: Journey North)

Materials You’ll Need:

  • A computer with internet access.
  • A printer that can print in color (preferably).
  • Optional: milkweed plants and flowers that may be conducive for monarch food, water, or shelter.

Why This Citizen Science Project is a Strong Candidate for the Classroom:

  • This project can be done either in or out of the classroom and in or out of urban areas.
  • It requires very little equipment or tools.
  • Usable data, graphs, maps, reading materials, and lesson plans, and identification tools are provided on the site.
  • You can meet almost every standard of Common Core and Next. Gen standards with this project and all the resources provided on the site.
  • Teachers can use the lessons provided even if they don’t participate in the project.
  • Students learn geography and science together.
  • Students obtain a “sense of place” by making local observations and contributing to a global observation effort that can be seen in “real-time” on the site’s maps.
  • Zero data can be useful, which teaches children about the importance of collecting all types of data.
  • Uploading data is safe and children remain anonymous, it’s put in as a class.
  • They have a free app that you can use in the field with a smart phone so you’re not tied to the classroom for uploading data. Students can put in their observations in real time.

Teaching Materials:

Supplied on Journey North’s Website you’ll find a while host of videos, reading materials, maps, slide shows, downloadable data, and more. There is also a teacher’s guide that can help you find introductory lessons and more information for your lessons. They also offer the ability to be monarch “ambassadors” and exchange cards with schools in South America through their “symbolic migration” butterfly card program.

Online Safety for Children

Teachers create one account for uploading data for their entire class so no specific student data is needed. They do ask that you put in your address and provide an e-mail. They also ask you what grade you teach and approximately how many students are in that grade.  After one initial registration you don’t need to do anything more except log in and begin recording observations. A log-in is not required to access all the free lesson support materials on the site.

mobile jn

Journey North has a free mobile app for uploading your observations. (Photo: Journey North)

Common Core and Next Gen. Standards Met:

Kindergarten:

Next. Gen. Science:

K-LS-1 Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals need to survive.  Teachers may print the mini-books or use the slide shows on the website about food, temperature, and habitat and explore the resources that monarchs need to survive. There is also information on their resources page and facts pages about food, water, and shelter with great photos. K-ESS3-1 Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals and the places they live. Teachers may use the resources about monarch life cycles and migrations on the kid’s pages and then have children draw on maps where butterflies life in winter and summer along with milkweed plants. Students could also create clay models of the life cycle of the monarch on and around milkweed plants. K-ESS3-3 Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment. Teachers may use the “People and Monarchs” link provided and then use their connection to the El Rosario Monarch Sanctuary link in Google Earth to show students a map of the wintering grounds in Mexico, and how they are threatened by de-forestation. Students should then suggest solutions.

Common Core:

Literacy:  

RI.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text. See above for reading materials and information about monarchs. W.K.2 use a combination of drawing, dictating, or writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic. SL.K.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail. W.K.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects. See above projects which include research and writing. Students may label their maps and models in the projects listed above to meet all of these standards.

Math:

MP.4 Model with mathematics. Teachers may pull up a real-time map of the sightings of monarchs to date. Students may count the location of monarch sightings and use the symbols to track monarch migration progress, using “more” or “less” of each symbol representing date range sightings. If participating in the project, during Spring or Fall, counting of butterflies and observations should be used.

First Grade:

Next. Gen. Science:

1-LS1-2 Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive. 1-LS3-1 Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like their parents. Teachers may print the mini-books and life cycle diagrams found in the “kids” pages of the JN website or use the “facts page” for information. They may then have students relate how the behavior of the parents help the young survive, and also how offspring and adults are different (metamorphosis). The slide shows on the resource pages are also useful for information about migration and why the adults migrate. 1-ESS1-2 Make observations at different times of year to relate to the amount of daylight to the time of year. Teachers may use JN’s “Mystery Class” lesson plans on daylight length and measurement, and then relate this to sightings of monarchs on the data and maps downloadable through the monarch project. There is also a slide show and teacher guide about temperature and survival of monarchs that may integrate well with daylight and seasonal temperatures.

Common Core:

Literacy:  

RI1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text. RI.1.2 Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text. W.1.7 Participate in a shared research and writing projects. The JN monarch project serves as a shared research project, and students may use the texts mentioned above for Next. Gen standards for reading and recall.

Math:

MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically. Teachers may pull up a real-time map of the sightings of monarchs to date. Students may count the location of monarch sightings and use the symbols to track monarch migration progress, using “more” or “less” of each symbol representing date range sightings. If participating in the project, during Spring or Fall, counting of butterflies and observations should be used. The students will use the map and key as “tools” used strategically.

facts

Journey North offers a wide range of support materials for the monarch project, including natural history facts. (Photo: Journey North)

Second Grade:

Next. Gen. Science:

2-LS2-2 Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats. Teachers may use the resources provided by JN to download information about habitats, food, temperatures, population sizes of monarchs, water, shelter, and space that is found in North America and in Mexico. They may then have children compare graphs and explain the differences. This would also go well with a short lesson in geography and the equator. The maps provided on the site are quite useful. Additionally the “culture” resources on the page make a nice comparison between human diversity and culture between North and South America.

Common Core:

Literacy:  

W.2.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects. W.2.8 Recall information from experience or gather information provided from sources to answer a question. By participating in the research project on monarch students participate in the shared research project. They may recall from their experiences and conduct research using the resources provided on the JN website, including printable books, slide shows, and graphs.

Math:

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively. MP.4 Model with mathematics. MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically. 2.MD.D.10 Draw a picture graph and bar graph (with a single unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories.  Teachers may use the data provided on the resources page to upload pre-made graphs to have students read and use, or they may take the data from the graphs and have students draw the graph themselves. Alternately, data may be downloaded for your site’s observations, or collective data for the students to graph and analyze.

Third Grade:

Next. Gen. Science:

3-LS2-1 Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive. Teachers may use graphs, data, and information from JN’s resources page to discuss Mexico’s Oyamel fir forest, where butterflies form a group in the winter. Students may discuss reasons for the grouping and features of the ecosystem such as the trees, bark, temperatures, and shelter.

3-LS4-3 Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all. Teachers may also use the resources pages to discuss why monarchs choose certain habitats, and the food/shelter/water/temperature needs of monarchs, all of which affects their survival.

3-LS4-4 Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change. Teachers may download the “Conservation in Mexico” information from JN’s website. This includes links for Google Earth so that students may view the butterfly wintering grounds in Mexico and the threat of deforestation. This can also lead into a discussion about conservation of milkweed and migration routes in North America as well as South American wintering grounds.

3-LS1-1 Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death. Teachers may download the life cycle diagrams and use the annual cycle puzzle on a smart board to have students examine the life cycle of monarchs. They may also create their own diagrams. JN’s fact page may be useful for students or teachers that needs background information.

Common Core:

Literacy:  

RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. RI.3.2 Determine the main idea of a text; recount key details and explain how they support the main idea. Teachers may print the mini-books about monarch life cycles, migration, and natural history found in the “kids” pages of the JN website and then have students read and ask questions about the texts and recall details for answering the main ideas. W.3.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons. Students may also use the resources to research monarch migration and population decline and then crate an opinion pieces about the reasons for the decline or solutions to help stop the decline.

Math:

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively. MP.4 Model with mathematics. MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically.3.MD.B.3 Draw a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Teachers may use the data provided on the resources page to upload pre-made graphs to have students read and use, or they may take the data from the graphs and have students draw the graph themselves. Alternately, data may be downloaded for your site’s observations, or collective data for the students to graph and analyze. Comparing monarch populations for different seasons and years would fulfill the need to graph several categories of information. JN also provides information on how to statistically quantify populations on their website, including graphs, charts, and a simulation that may be useful.

number crunching

Fourth Grade:

Next. Gen. Science:

4-LS1-1 Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. Teachers may use JN’s resources page to find information about butterfly migration patterns and behavior, butterfly wings, and anatomy. They may then have students discuss how monarchs innately know how to migrate, how to find the right food plant for laying eggs, and where to go to find the wintering grounds. Teachers can also discuss the physical changes in external and internal structures of metamorphosis. Scientific American has a nice short article on metamorphosis that might help. This is a great YouTube video of the process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AUeM8MbaIk.

Common Core:

Literacy:  

W.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, support a point of view with reasons and information. Students may also use the resources to research monarch migration and population decline and then crate an opinion pieces about the reasons for the decline or solutions to help stop the decline.

Math:

MP.4 Model with mathematics. Teachers may use the data provided on the resources page to upload pre-made graphs to have students read and use, or they may take the data from the graphs and have students draw the graph themselves. Alternately, data may be downloaded for your site’s observations, or collective data for the students to graph and analyze. Comparing monarch populations for different seasons and years would fulfill the need to graph several categories of information. JN also provides information on how to statistically quantify populations on their website, including graphs, charts, and a simulation that may be useful.

Fifth Grade:

Next. Gen. Science:

5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resource and environment. Teachers may use the materials found on JN’s resources page or the kid’s pages that explain conservation efforts, of monarchs and their wintering forests, in Mexico and Eco-tourism. They may compare this to what efforts may be done in North America to slow the decline of monarch populations. This may include information about tagging monarchs and tracking their populations though citizen science such as the JN monarch projects.

Common Core:

Literacy:  

RI.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explain what the test says. W.5.8 Recall relevant information from experience or gather relevant information from print and digital sources. W.5.9 Draw evidence from literary or information texts to support analysis, reflecting, and research. SL.5.5 Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations. By participating in the JN monarch project students may draw from their own experiences, or they may use texts provided on the JN Kid’s pages to find supporting text and information in digital/print form. They may also download data, graphs, and maps for analysis and a multi-media presentation of their research.

Math:

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively. MP.4 Model with mathematics. MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically. Teachers may use the data provided on the resources page to upload pre-made graphs to have students read and use, or they may take the data from the graphs and have students draw the graph themselves. Alternately, data may be downloaded for your site’s observations, or collective data for the students to graph and analyze. Comparing monarch populations for different seasons and years would fulfill the need to graph several categories of information. JN also provides information on how to statistically quantify populations on their website, including graphs, charts, and a simulation that may be useful.

 

Middle School:

Next. Gen. Science:

MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem. MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystems affect populations. Students may use data from the JN website to analyze information about wintering monarch populations in Mexico and North America and then discuss how declining resources, and forested habitat, in Mexico may affect future populations. They may construct their arguments using this analysis. Links to Google Earth images are provided on the site, as well as information (satellite images and maps) about forestation and vegetation. JN also provides information on how to statistically quantify populations on their website, including graphs, charts, and a simulation that may be useful.

MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.  Students may use data from the JN website to analyze information about wintering monarch populations in Mexico and North America and then discuss how declining resources, and forested habitat, in Mexico may affect future populations in both North and south America. This should also include some focus on human development in South America near the butterfly wintering grounds. Links to Google Earth images are provided on the site, as well as information (satellite images and maps) about forestation and vegetation. JN also provides information on how to statistically quantify populations on their website, including graphs, charts, and a simulation that may be useful.

MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services. Using the comparison of data, ecosystems, and deforestation listed in the standards above, students may then develop design solutions for reducing monarch population decline and ecosystem services. This may be done as groups, and then presented for evaluation.

Common Core:

Literacy:  

WHSST.6-8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.WST.6-8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. SL.8.5 Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims, and evidence and add interest. Students may use the NGG projects listed above to research and write information about monarch populations and design solutions for decreasing population decline. They may present their research, analysis, and conclusions in multimedia format.

Math:

MP.4 Model with mathematics.  Data may be downloaded from the JN website about your site’s observations, or collective data from North and South America may be used for the students to graph and analyze. Comparing monarch populations for different seasons, years, and locations (North and South America) would add complexity. The JN exercise about estimating the area covered by the twelve S. American sanctuaries may also be useful.

estiating area

High School:

Next. Gen. Science:

HS-LS2-2 Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales. Students may use data from the JN website to analyze information about wintering monarch populations in Mexico and North America and then discuss how declining resources, and forested habitat, in Mexico may affect future populations in both North and south America. This should also include some focus on human development in South America near the butterfly wintering grounds. Links to Google Earth images are provided on the site, as well as information (satellite images and maps) about forestation and vegetation. JN also provides information on how to statistically quantify populations on their website, including graphs, charts, and a simulation that may be useful.

HS-LS4-5 Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species. Students may use data from the JN website to analyze information about wintering monarch populations in Mexico and North America and then discuss how declining resources, and forested habitat, in Mexico may affect future populations in both North and south America. This should also include some focus on human development in South America near the butterfly wintering grounds. Links to Google Earth images are provided on the site, as well as information (satellite images and maps) about forestation and vegetation. Students may focus on drawing supporting evidence for monarch population decline and changes and the possibility of extinction.


When not writing her science and education blog The Infinite Spider, Karen McDonald is a guest blogger, curriculum developer, science content editor, and outdoor educator with over thirteen years in informal science education. She has an MS in Biology and a BS in Environmental Science and Philosophy. Currently she works for the Smithsonian and contracts for Discovery Channel. You can find her most evening rowing or writing.

Find more posts like Citizen Science in The Classroom: Monarch Migration by Karen McDonald on the SciStarter Blog. Your source for citizen science and other science you can do.

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Citizen Science in the Classroom: Monitoring Dragonflieshttp://scistarter.com/blog/2014/09/citizen-science-classroom-monitoring-dragonflies/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/09/citizen-science-classroom-monitoring-dragonflies/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 16:30:31 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=9297 Using Pond Watch citizen science project, monitoring dragonflies, in the classroom to meet Next Generation Science Standards and other teaching standards.

Find more posts like Citizen Science in the Classroom: Monitoring Dragonflies by Karen McDonald on the SciStarter Blog. Your source for citizen science and other science you can do.

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Editor’s Note: This post has been republished and shared in celebration of SciStarter’s Back To School campaign where you will find 10 citizen science projects aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.

Citizen Science in the Classroom:  Using the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership Pond Watch Project to Meet Common Core and Next Generation Teaching Standards

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Dragonfly captured during citizen science survey (Photo: Karen McDonald)

Grades:

K-12th

Description:

While most people are aware of the migration of monarchs and birds, most are unaware that there is also a large seasonal migration of dragonflies. The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP) is an organization dedicated to developing a network of citizen scientists that monitor the spring and fall movements of dragonflies (five in particular). This includes monitoring migrations in Spring and Fall, Pond Watching, and collecting adults and shed casts (exuviae) for analysis of stable isotopes. The isotopes can help researchers identify how far dragonflies are migrating. The MDP projects span all of North America and can be conducted anywhere there is fresh water and dragonflies.

The migration study and Pond Watch are the two activities best suited for student participation.  This is because the dragonfly collection requires euthanizing adult dragonflies, which may be a sensitive activity for children. For those working with elementary to middle school students I would strongly suggest participating primarily in the Pond Watch project. The Pond Watch project allows continual monitoring of a pond, or body of water, for the five key species of dragonflies that MDP has identified as migrants. The migration studies occur primarily in Spring and Fall, and for those not familiar with dragonfly migration (teachers or students) identification of “migration” behavior may be too difficult to distinguish from behavior that is “hunting” or “patrolling” without proper training. For this reason I’m going to focus on the Pond Watch project for all three projects are similar (Note: for the isotope project you will need to order a kit from the MDP website).

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(Photo: Karen McDonald)

 Materials You’ll Need:

  • Computer with internet access.
  • Printer
  • Binoculars (optional, but helpful)
  • Clipboards and pencils
  • Data sheets downloaded from the MDP website
  • Access to pond or water with dragonflies (ponds, pools, landscaping, drainage areas, etc.)
  • Digital Camera(s) (optional but encouraged)
  • Meter Sticks (optional)
  • Insect nets (optional)
  • Dip nets and buckets (optional)
  • A printed guide for identification of 5 species of dragonflies (supplied on MDP site)
  • Field guide to dragonflies of your region (optional, but helpful)

Why This Citizen Science Project is a Strong Candidate for the Classroom:

  • Dragonflies are ubiquitous throughout North America and they are familiar to most school children.
  • You don’t have to be a dragonfly expert to participate, your class only needs to learn five key species of dragonflies and some basics of their behavior (egg laying, hunting, etc.).
  • This project requires very little materials.
  • Students develop natural observational skills and use quantification to measure population abundance.
  • The project can be done three seasons of the year.

Teaching Materials:  

There are a variety of teaching materials supplied on the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership website and the Oodonota Central website. On their home page you can find a “Projects Flyer” that describes their various projects, along with a 32 page instruction manual of “Monitoring Protocols.” On the MDP website they have a “Resources” tab that has helpful identification resources, anatomy guides, specific pages for the five focus species of their projects, behavior resources, and more. On the Oodonata Central web page you can also find checklists, maps, photos/ID, and resources. I found Oodonata Central to be geared towards professional in the field than teachers or educators, but it is a useful resource. There are regional trainings held by MDP, they suggest checking their website for dates, times, and locations.

As an educator, I have also found the following resources helpful, and I will reference some of these in the following standards section:

Online Safety for Children

To participate in this project the teacher will need to create a log-in for the MDP website, which can be used for the entire class. They may then control data entry. Students do not need to create their own accounts. To register, you will be required to provide the location of the site where you are collecting, including longitude and latitude.

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(Photo: Karen McDonald)

Common Core and Next Gen. Standards Met:

Kindergarten:

Next. Gen. Science:

K-LS1-1 Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals need to survive. K-ESS3-1 Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals and the places they live. For the first two standards, teachers may introduce the life cycle of dragonflies to students using the books mentioned in the “teaching resources” section of this post. You may then have students describe what dragonflies need to survive during different stages of their life cycle. This may be done in categories such as food, water, shelter, and space (or ecosystem). K-ESS3-3 Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air and/or other living things in the local environment. Students may use what they learn about the needs of dragonflies, especially around ponds, and then draw or describe solutions for reducing human impacts in the area where dragonflies feed and reproduce. All of these standards may be supported by participating in the MDP Pond Watch project and going to your local pond to collect data about dragonflies, their habitat, and behaviors.

Common Core:

Literacy:  RI.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text. W.K.1 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell the reader the topic or name of a book they are writing about. W.K.7 Participate in a shared research and writing project. By participating in the MDP Pond Watch research project, students may conduct field research to support reading. The books mentioned in the “teaching resources” section of this post may also be used to help students meet all three of these standards with grade appropriate reading. See the NGSS description above for Kindergarten.

Math: MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively. MP.4 Model with Mathematics. K.MD.A.2. Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has “more of/less of” the attribute and describe the difference. By participating in the MDP Pond Watch project, students may count, observe, and quantify dragonflies (larvae, adult, and molts). Teaches may also have them count how many of the five different species, focused on by the MDP researchers, that they observe and quantify behavior such as hunting, mating, laying eggs, etc. This data may be recorded on the Pond Watch data sheet and submitted.

First Grade:

Next. Gen. Science:

1-LS3-1 Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents. Teachers may use the Pond Watch project to allow students to learn the life cycle of dragonflies.  The books, worksheets, and lesson provided in the “teaching resources” section of this post will provide supplementary materials. The class may then go out into the field to make real-time observations of adult and larval dragonflies.

Common Core:

Literacy:  RI.1.1 Ask and answer key details in a text. RI.1.2 Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text. W.1.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects. By participating in the MDP Pond Watch research project, students may conduct field research to support reading. The books mentioned in the “teaching resources” section of this post may also be used to help students meet all three of these standards with grade appropriate reading. See the NGSS description above for First Grade.

Math: MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively. MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically. By participating in the MDP Pond Watch project, students may count, observe, and quantify dragonflies (larvae, adult, and molts). Teaches may also have them count how many of the five different species, focused on by the MDP researchers, that they observe and quantify behavior such as hunting, mating, laying eggs, etc. This data may be recorded on the Pond Watch data sheet and submitted.

Second Grade:

Next. Gen. Science:

2-LS4-1 Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats. Teachers may focus on using the Pond Watch project as a springboard for comparing different types of ponds (ecosystems, water quality, and clarity) to meet this standard. The lesson plans provided by Utah State University may be useful in using aquatic insects (especially dragonflies) as bioindicators of ecosystem health.  K-2-ETS1-2 Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a problem. Teachers may use the lesson plan provided on insect wings and adaptations by PBS. They may discuss the shape and design of dragonfly wings, make models, create a flip book, and test a model design in a wind tunnel.

Common Core:

Literacy: W.2.6 Recall information from experience or gather information from the provided sources to answer a question. SL.2.5 Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences. Students may use their experience observing dragonflies and conducting experiments about dragonfly wings (see NGSS above) as a basis to answer a question (hypothesis) and to support their findings and experimental results.

Math: 2.MD.D.10 Draw a picture graph and a bar graph to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information presented in the bar graph. By participating in the MDP Pond Watch project, students may count, observe, and quantify dragonflies (larvae, adult, and molts). Teaches may also have them count how many of the five different species, focused on by the MDP researchers, that they observe and quantify behavior such as hunting, mating, laying eggs, etc. Teachers may also have students make observations about average flight duration and the height of flight of the dragonflies observed. This data may be recorded on the Pond Watch data sheet and submitted. Students should also create bar graphs and picture graphs of this information.

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Dragonflies make great organisms for citizen science (Photo: Karen McDonald)

Third Grade:

Next. Gen. Science:

3-LS4-3 Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all. Teachers participating in the Pond Watch project may have students make observations of the number and types of dragonflies and aquatic insects found at their site. The lesson plans provided by Utah State University may be useful in using aquatic insects (especially dragonflies) as bioindicators of ecosystem health. By examining bioindicators teachers may have students quantify insect populations and discuss survivorship rates and water quality. 3-LS4-4 Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change. Students may discuss their findings about dragonfly and aquatic insect populations in relationship to what might happen if the local ecosystem water quality deteriorated or was made more clean. They may offer solutions for bio-remediation or community level-solutions. 3.LS1-1 Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles, but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death. Teachers may use the resources provided, in the “teaching resources” section of this post, to help students learn the life cycle of dragonflies. They may then have students draw and compare this cycle to frogs, beetles, butterflies, and grasshoppers while noting the differences between complete and incomplete metamorphosis.

Common Core:

Literacy:  W.3.9 Recall information from experience or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories. SL.3.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace. Teachers may have students research the life cycle and natural history of dragonflies as bioindicators (as well as other aquatic insects). They may have students report on their findings during the Pond Watch data collection period and their hypothesis concerning water quality and pond health (see the NGSS project above relating to aquatic insect bioinidicators).

Math: MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively. MP.4 Model with mathematics. MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically. 3.MD.B.3 Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. By participating in the MDP Pond Watch project, students may count, observe, and quantify dragonflies (larvae, adult, and molts). Teaches may also have them count how many of the five different species, focused on by the MDP researchers, that they observe and quantify behavior such as hunting, mating, laying eggs, etc. Teachers may also have students make observations about average flight duration and the height of flight of the dragonflies observed. This data may be recorded on the Pond Watch data sheet and submitted. Students may also quantify and graph the numbers and types of different aquatic insects discovered during their exploration of water quality/health (see lesson plans mentioned in NGSS standards above).

Fourth Grade:

Next. Gen. Science: 4-ESS2-2 Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features. By participating in Pond Watch students may learn about the needs of dragonflies and the five key species that tend to migrate. Teachers may use a topographical map of their local county or region and ask students to identify patterns on the map, and then to hypothesize possible migration routes for the dragonflies that live in their local pond. Students should consider wind, buildings, food sources, water sources, updrafts, thermals, and man-made obstructions. They may work in groups and then present their ideas to the class.

Common Core:

Literacy:  W.4.8. Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources. W.4.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. Students may use the project described above (see NGSS standards) as the basis for their research about local conditions such as weather and natural resources or man-made obstructions in an area. They may present their findings as a part of the research project on potential routes for dragonfly migration.

Math: MP.4 Model with mathematics. Students should be able to use scale bars from their topographic maps to estimate and model different migratory routes, and distances, for their hypothesized fly way for dragonflies (see NGSS standard above for description).

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(Photo: Karen McDonald)

Fifth Grade:

Next. Gen. Science:

5-LS2-1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. Teachers may have students develop a visual model of the food web of the ponds which are being studied. They may then have students trace the flow of energy through primary, secondary, and tertiary consumers. 

Common Core:

Literacy:  RI.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. RI.5.9 Integrate information from several texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. SL.5.5 Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of the main ideas or themes.

Math: MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively. MP.4 Model with mathematics. MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically. Teachers participating in the Pond Watch project may have students make observations of the number and types of dragonflies and aquatic insects found at their site. The lesson plans provided by Utah State University may be useful in using aquatic insects (especially dragonflies) as bioindicators of ecosystem health. By examining bioindicators teachers may have students quantify insect populations and discuss survivorship rates and water quality.Teachers may have students research the life cycle and natural history of dragonflies as bioindicators (as well as other aquatic insects). They may have students report on their findings during the Pond Watch data collection period and their hypothesis concerning water quality, biomagnification, and pond health (see the NGSS project above relating to aquatic insect bioinidicators). Students may use quantitative data, relating to the different species observed in their habitats, and relate this to their findings.

Middle School:

Next. Gen. Science:

MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations. MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems. Teachers may use Pond Watch as a platform to allow students to observe populations of invertebrates, specifically aquatic invertebrates and dragonflies, and then to discuss present day environmental factors affecting their populations as well as future predictions of how climate, water quality, ecosystem changes, and human influence may affect the location(s). This may be supported by studies of bioindicator species (such as dragonflies) using the lesson plans provided by Utah State University.

MS-LS4-2 Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships. Students may construct possible cladograms or time limes of evolution relating to modern day dragonflies (observed during Pond Watch studies) and fossil dragonflies. Resources such as the National Geographic article on paleo-dragonflies may be useful as well resources on ancient dragonflies found in “Google Scholar.”

Common Core:

Literacy:  RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. RST.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions about a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions. WHST.6-8.2 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. Students may use the data they collected from the Pond Watch project to support ideas about ecosystem populations of invertebrates and water quality. They may also conduct research related to dragonfly tolerance of different levels of water clarity and quality and then relate this to their ideas about how changes in ecosystems may affect aquatic insect populations (food sources, rearing grounds, migration routes, etc.). Students may also conduct research on prehistoric dragonflies and then present their research related to modern dragonflies observed during their research projects.

Math: MP.4 Model with mathematics. 6SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context. By participating in the MDP Pond Watch project, students may count, observe, and quantify dragonflies (larvae, adult, and molts). Teaches may also have them count how many of the five different species, focused on by the MDP researchers, that they observe and quantify behavior such as hunting, mating, laying eggs, etc. Teachers may also have students make observations about average flight duration and the height of flight of the dragonflies observed. This data may be recorded on the Pond Watch data sheet and submitted. Students may also quantify and graph the numbers and types of different aquatic insects discovered during their exploration of water quality/health (see lesson plans mentioned in NGSS standards above).

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Dragonfly collection and citizen science (Photo: Karen McDonald)

 High School:

Next. Gen. Science: HS-LS2-2 Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales. Teachers may have students participate in the Pond Watch project and then use data from different seasons (possibly years) to quantify population observations of the five different species being studied, their behavior, life stages, and abundance. Students may wish to compare larval (nymph) populations to adult abundance to assess if there is immigration occurring in the ecosystem. HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity. Students may assess the ecosystem that they are studying for biotic and abiotic factors that might affect aquatic insect (and adult) dragonfly populations. They may then develop management solutions and produce a management strategy plan for the class.

Find more posts like Citizen Science in the Classroom: Monitoring Dragonflies by Karen McDonald on the SciStarter Blog. Your source for citizen science and other science you can do.

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Back to School with Citizen Science and NGSS!http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/09/back-school-citizen-science/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/09/back-school-citizen-science/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 03:41:29 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10283 Make citizen science a part of your classroom routine with SciStarter’s Back to School Series! Here are 10 citizen science projects you can use in your classroom. SciStarter’s Karen McDonald aligned them with the new Next Generation Science Standards! Click the title of each project to link to detailed blog posts describing how the project can work in […]

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Make citizen science a part of your classroom routine with SciStarter’s Back to School Series!
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Credit: jarmoluk / Pixabay / Public Domain CC0

Here are 10 citizen science projects you can use in your classroom. SciStarter’s Karen McDonald aligned them with the new Next Generation Science Standards! Click the title of each project to link to detailed blog posts describing how the project can work in your classroom, and how it aligns with NGSS. Then, click “Get Started” to go directly to the SciStarter website to learn more about the project.

Related links:

Integrating Citizen Science Into Your Classroom

SciStarter’s Classroom Picks!

 

raindrop

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)

Join researchers from the Colorado Climate Center in tracking weather and precipitation data across the US. This data is used by the National Weather Service, city managers, and the USDA. In conjunction with this project, the Paleontological Research Institution has developed curriculum for ages 8-12 called “Tracking Climate in Your Backyard”. Get Started.

5161

Project Noah

Challenge your students help document the biodiversity of their local plants, animals, insects and more. You can join global or regional missions or create your own private mission for students (that only you and your students can see). There are virtual rewards and the data is available to download and use in the classroom. Get Started.

Credit: Victor Loewen

Credit: Victor Loewen

Urban Birds

Team up with Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, and the Celebrate Urban Birds project (CUB), to help researchers track different species of urban wildlife. The project offers bilingual materials and focuses on 16 different urban bird species, with 10 minute observation periods. There’s lots of free support materials (and kits) for teachers too!  Get Started.

 

Monarch1

Journey North: Monarch Migration

Join researchers to track and monitor monarch populations. There are real time maps, data you can download, and lesson plans. Even if you live in an area without monarchs, there is plenty of information about monarchs, their life cycles, migration patterns, and much more.Get Started.

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Credit: NASA

Map Mars and Be a Martian With NASA

Become a Martian explorer and help count craters and topographical features found in photos from the Mars rover. There are supporting videos, games, and activities galore. The site can be overwhelming with so much to offer, but our blog helps distill it down (click on the heading to read more). NASA provides amazing tools for teachers for this project too.  Get Started.

ladybird

The Lost Ladybug Project

Can you and your class help track the distribution of native and invasive ladybugs? This project has many resources for teachers, and it’s fun and easy to participate. You can start with insect anatomy and move through population ecology, all with this citizen science activity. Get Started.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA

Phytoplankton Monitoring Network

Students can take on the role of phytoplankton biologists by helping NOAA scientists track and monitor species of plankton in their local waters. This is part of a larger scale project called REDM or the Regional Ecosystem Data Management systemGet Started.

Credit: School of Ants

Credit: School of Ants

School of Ants

Back to school is cool with ants! Participate in the Your Wildlife project to help catalog urban ant biodiversity at your school. Participation is simple, with step by step instructions, and there is a great guide of common species of ants available online for freeGet Started.

Credit: Celeste Mazza

Credit: Celeste Mazza

Migratory Dragonfly Partnership and Pond Watch Project

Dragonflies migrate just like butterflies, birds, and fish. Your classroom can help track their movements with the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership and Pond Watch. Observations can include that of adults, and juveniles in ponds and bodies of water. Students can learn all about life cycles, migration, and dragonfly behavior. Get Started.

earthquake

Quake Catcher Network

Earthquakes are making headlines right now! Join this timely citizen science network, supported by Stanford University and UC Berkeley, to help track and monitor earthquakes around the globe. You can get free materials (including a USB enabled sensor!), download data, and much more! Get Started.

 

 


When not writing her science and education blog The Infinite SpiderKaren McDonald is a guest blogger, curriculum developer, science content editor, and outdoor educator with over thirteen years in informal science education. She has an MS in Biology and a BS in Environmental Science and Philosophy. Currently she works for the Smithsonian and contracts for Discovery Channel. You can find her most evening rowing or writing.

Find more posts like Back to School with Citizen Science and NGSS! by Karen McDonald on the SciStarter Blog. Your source for citizen science and other science you can do.

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Informing NASA’s Asteroid Initiative: Your Chance to Participate!http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/08/informing-nasas-asteroid-initiative-citizen-forum/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/08/informing-nasas-asteroid-initiative-citizen-forum/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:00:55 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10253 August 28, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE In its history, the Earth has been repeatedly struck by asteroids, large chunks of rock from space that can cause considerable damage in a collision. Can we—or should we—try to protect Earth from potentially hazardous impacts? How about harvesting asteroids for potential economic benefits? What do we do if […]

Find more posts like Informing NASA’s Asteroid Initiative: Your Chance to Participate! by Arvind Suresh on the SciStarter Blog. Your source for citizen science and other science you can do.

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Asteroid Sample Retrieval

Asteroid Sample Retrieval

August 28, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In its history, the Earth has been repeatedly struck by asteroids, large chunks of rock from space that can cause considerable damage in a collision. Can we—or should we—try to protect Earth from potentially hazardous impacts?

How about harvesting asteroids for potential economic benefits? What do we do if we find an asteroid that threatens Earth? How should we balance costs, risks, and benefits of human exploration in space?

Sounds like stuff just for rocket scientists. But how would you like to be part of this discussion?

An innovative project between NASA (the US government’s space agency) and a group led by Arizona State University called ECAST—Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology—is planning to do just that: give ordinary citizens a voice in the future of space exploration.

The “Informing NASA’s Asteroid Initiative” project will hold forums this fall to engage ordinary citizens in active dialogue about NASA’s Asteroid Initiative. Discussion will cover topics from how to detect threatening asteroids, planetary defense strategies, and how the exploration of asteroids is part of the future of human space exploration.

“Public engagement is crucial to the effective development of science and technology policy,” said David Guston, Co-director of the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO), one of the founding members of ECAST. “It is essential to consider input from diverse constituents, and nowhere are citizens’ values, hopes and dreams more important than in the future of the planet and the future of humans in space.”

The citizen forums will engage diverse publics in respectful, reflective and informed conversations, both face-to-face and online. The goal is to enable participants to learn about such issues, develop their own questions, and make recommendations based on their own values and interests.

Jason Kessler, Asteroid Grand Challenge and LAUNCH Program Executive at NASA, said “These forums are a direct result of the Asteroid Initiative Request for Information process—ECAST submitted a proposal that was highly ranked and well received at the 2013 Asteroid Initiative Workshop. This is the next step in public engagement, allowing us to directly engage in a meaningful two-way dialog and provide valuable insight for continued planning of the Asteroid Initiative.”

 

Concept using robotic arms to retrieve a boulder from the surface of an asteroid

Concept using robotic arms to retrieve a boulder from the surface of an asteroid

ECAST is a network of different institutions, launched in 2010, to provide a 21st Century model for technology assessment. It combines the research strengths of universities like Arizona State University with the skills of nonpartisan policy research organizations and the education and outreach capabilities of science museums and citizen science programs. “Science museums have a long history of making complex science topics interesting and accessible to public audiences. With the help of our ECAST partners we’ve developed the techniques to give lay publics the opportunity to consider the societal impacts of scientific and technological advances and to share their views with the experts. We are excited to be able to do this for NASA’s Asteroid Initiative,” said Larry Bell, Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at the Museum of Science in Boston.

Three of the five ECAST founding partners, the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO) at ASU, the Museum of Science, Boston and SciStarter.com are working with NASA to design, convene and evaluate citizen forums in Phoenix and Boston, and also online. The in person forums will each comprise about 100 demographically diverse participants selected to be representative of the two geographies. The online forum will be open to all and representative of diverse geographies. The report and assessments from the forums will provide input to the asteroid initiative and ideas for future asteroid-related public engagement activities.

“Citizen science connects people with varied interests, from nature lovers to Makers, to engage in civic and science activities,” said Darlene Cavalier, founder of SciStarter. “With NASA’s Asteroid Initiative, we are expanding the scope of citizen science to also empower people who want to be part of conversations and developments shaping science, technology and related policy.”

For more information on the project or to sign up to receive updates visit http://ecastonline.org.

Images courtesy of NASA

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ECAST is a collaboration among university, informal science education, and policy research partners to establish a non-partisan, independent, flexible, and proactive technology assessment capability in the United States.

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The Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes is an intellectual network aimed at enhancing the contribution of science and technology to society’s pursuit of equality, justice, freedom, and overall quality of life. The Consortium creates knowledge and methods, cultivates public discourse, and fosters policies to help decision makers and institutions grapple with the immense power and importance of science and technology as society charts a course for the future.

 

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One of the world’s largest science centers and New England’s most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces about 1.5 million visitors a year to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) via dynamic programs and hundreds of interactive exhibits.

 

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SciStarter.com is a citizen science hotspot that connects people from all walks of life to the tools, resources, projects, and communities in need of their perspectives, data, talent, and wisdom.

 

Contact:

Marissa Huth, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO) at Arizona State University,
480-727-0627, marissa.huth@asu.edu

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Wanted: You and Your Dog! For Science! – It’s National Dog Day! [GUEST POST]http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/08/canine-science/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/08/canine-science/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:07:19 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10230 Editor’s Note: In honor of National Dog Day, we are featuring an article by Julie Hecht, the Dog Spies blogger for Scientific American.   A few years back, John Homans, former executive editor of New York magazine, published What’s a Dog For? — an intimate reflection on his beloved family dog, Stella, as well as […]

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Editor’s Note: In honor of National Dog Day, we are featuring an article by Julie Hecht, the Dog Spies blogger for Scientific American.

 

She's ready for science. Photo by Rebecca Moore-Ghilarducci

This dog is ready for science.
Photo: Rebecca Moore-Ghilarducci

A few years back, John Homans, former executive editor of New York magazine, published What’s a Dog For? — an intimate reflection on his beloved family dog, Stella, as well as a snapshot into the flourishing field of canine science. Looking down at the wagging tail by your side, you could easily answer the above question. What’s a dog for? Simple. Dogs are our family members and friends, our assistants and fellow-workers, and in some cases, our unexpected mentors. But would you also add ‘enthusiastic science partner’ to the list?

Since the late 1990s, companion dogs and their owners have played a crucial role in the growing field of canine science — a field investigating a wide range of questions about who dogs are and how they came to live their lives so intertwined with ours. To borrow from Dr. Alexandra Horowitz’s New York Times bestseller Inside of a Dog, researchers are tackling the nuances of “what dogs see, smell, and know,” and all those burning questions you have about dogs. In recent years, we’ve learned why dogs so easily move in sync with us (they readily attend to not only our gestures, but also our gaze and even our facial expressions), why dogs eat food off the table when you are out of, but not in, the room (they learn to note your attentional states), and how our assessments of dogs are not always spot-on (studies to date suggest the beloved “guilty look” in dogs is not what we think it means).

What’s probably most interesting about canine science is that it can’t be done without you. The field does not rely on laboratory or purpose-bred dogs. Instead, companion dogs and their owners are often study participants and subjects. No matter where you live on planet Earth, there’s probably a canine behavior and cognition lab on your continent (and it likely wants your help!).

Traditionally, dogs and their owners participate in short studies held at academic institutions, although research at owner homes, the park, dog daycares or even animal shelters is becoming more common. Through this research, we’re developing a more detailed picture of what it’s like to be a dog, and even how dogs view us. In an early study from the Family Dog Project, a leading canine research group in Budapest, researchers wondered what dogs would do when faced with an unsolvable task — say attempting to access a treat that’s in a box that can’t be opened. Dogs tend to look back toward a person, having learned that you, Mr. Opposable Thumbs, are a great tool to open the box, get the ball from under the couch, open the “cookie” jar, and the list goes on. I’m surprised Gary Larson, cartoonist extraordinaire, didn’t do a comic of a dog’s ode to human thumbs.

Recently, canine science projects are catching up to the 21st Century, incorporating new technologies and increasing the scale and scope of participation. For example, in a recent study at the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, we asked owners to upload short videos depicting how they play with their dog. Project: Play With Your Dog (which has since ended) received hundreds of submissions from 19 different countries. This approach gave us a direct link to unique and unscripted play-styles from around the world — something that would have been challenging with more traditional approaches.

Because canine science projects do not follow a singular, standardized form, there are many different ways you can get involved! To name a few, some researchers want your dog’s saliva (there’s lots of quality information in spit)! Others would like video or audio recordings of your dog, or perhaps even your help analyzing recordings of other dogs’ vocalizations. If you’d like, you can fill out questionnaires about your experiences with or perceptions of dogs. And as we’ve seen, you and your dog can participate in short studies.

Canine researchers can’t study dogs alone. We need your help (well, often you and your dog’s help). If I could guess how dogs rate participating in canine science studies, they’d probably give it two dog ‘thumbs’ up (which, as research finds, might equate to a right-sided tail wag). After all, it feels good to be understood.

Follow Julie at Dog Spies (Blog, Twitter, Facebook) to keep up with the field of canine science.

Check out these dog citizen science projects: Don’t Let These Dog Projects Pass You By, Scientific American

More on the growing field of canine science:
Julie Hecht. 2012. Dog Smart: Exploring the Canine Mind. The Bark. Issue 69: Mar/Apr/May 2012
Julie Hecht. 2013. Drop Outs and Bloopers: Behind the Scenes of Canine Science. Dog Spies. Scientific American.
Virginia Morell. 2009. Going to the Dogs. Science. 325: 5944, 1062-1065.

Reference:
Bensky, M.K., Gosling, S.D., Sinn, D.L., 2013. The world from a dog’s point of view: a review and synthesis of dog cognition research. Advances in the study of behavior. 45, 209–406.

Interested in canine citizen science? Check out these projects:
C-BARQ
Emotional Load of Calls
Pets Can Do
Dognition
Canid Howl Project


Julie Hecht is a canine researcher, science writer and public speaker. She has investigated dogs’ understanding of “fairness,” olfactory preferences, dog-human play behavior, and common anthropomorphisms along with Alexandra Horowitz at the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College in NYC. She frequently holds lectures for the general public and student groups on all things dog.

Julie is a regular contributor to Bark magazine, and you can find her blog, Dog Spies, on Scientific American. She and fellow canine researcher Mia Cobb also maintain Do You Believe in Dog?. Julie’s popular writing covers everything from dog humping and crotch-sniffing to canine cognition and the infamous “guilty look.” You know, the important things.

Julie received a Masters with distinction in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare from the University of Edinburgh, and she is a PhD student in the Animal Behavior and Comparative Psychology training area at The City University of New York. Julie conducted her Masters research with the Family Dog Project in Budapest, pioneers in the field of canine ethology. She would really like to meet your dog.

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The Citizen Science Funding Resource Guidehttp://scistarter.com/blog/2014/08/citizen-science-funding-resource-guide/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/08/citizen-science-funding-resource-guide/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 23:08:36 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10225 Looking for ways to fund citizen science research? Check out the Citizen Science Funding Resource Guide! Jessica Clemente, an environmental science graduate thought she would be doing work outside of her community once she got her degree. But she is an asthmatic, and when she found out there was an asthma study taking place in […]

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Looking for ways to fund citizen science research? Check out the Citizen Science Funding Resource Guide!

242px-Environmental_Protection_Agency_logo.svgJessica Clemente, an environmental science graduate thought she would be doing work outside of her community once she got her degree. But she is an asthmatic, and when she found out there was an asthma study taking place in the area of her home in South Bronx she became involved and eventually took the lead. “Living day-to-day in an area where all I saw was high traffic volumes, poor air quality and adding more waste to our community got me enraged,” she says in an EPA video interview. Her anger prompted action, and she looked at the tools to empower herself and her community—education and advocacy.

In many cases, there is a connection between socioeconomic status and air quality. Some call it environmental justice—why should a factory spew tons of filth into the same air that a poor, young family across the road breathes? Amanda Kaufman, the Environmental Health Fellow in the Air Climate and Energy Program Office at the EPA says, “We are currently working with a community in Newark, New Jersey that has faced environmental justice issues in the past and still faces many to this day.  We hope to collaborate with the community action group to establish a community-led air monitoring project.”

The EPA has several tools to assist environmental justice communities, including the EJView mapping tool and the Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool (C-FERST). The Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists is also a valuable resource for environmental justice communities, as well as any other community interested in monitoring their air quality, but most recently Kaufman compiled a list of organizations, specific grants and other funding opportunities within organizations that will fund citizen science monitoring projects.

Kaufman says, “The Citizen Science Funding Resource Guide is a compilation of all the funding opportunities I discovered while searching the Internet for funding for citizen science and/or community-based research projects.” The guide is not EPA-specific and some of the funding sources are specifically focused on air quality or air sensors because that is the focus of EPA’s new resource tool, the Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists.

Kaufman isn’t involved in any of the funding processes so she doesn’t know how easy or difficult it is to get funding. Each funding opportunity is different and will probably need different types of information, depending on the specific requirements of the funding grantor. But what energizes her is that there are so many opportunities available through the Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists and the Citizen Science Funding Resource Guide. “Most importantly, I am excited that individuals and communities will now be able to access this extensive list of funding opportunities all located in one easy to navigate database. Often, citizens are unaware of funding opportunities or unsure of how to obtain money to do projects, and this resource guide will assist them in bringing their projects to fruition.”


Ian Vorster has a MS in Environmental Communications and most recently served as director of communications at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts. Prior to that he worked in the health communications field. Ian has served as a designer, writer, photographer, editor and project leader in the field of science, and now works freelance in a blend of these roles. You can see more of Ian’s work at dragonflyec.com.

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Exploring a Culture of Health: Repurposing Medicine to Help More Peoplehttp://scistarter.com/blog/2014/08/exploring-culture-health-repurposing-medicine-help-people/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/08/exploring-culture-health-repurposing-medicine-help-people/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:22:30 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10213 This post is part of Exploring a Culture of Health, a citizen science series brought to you by Discover Magazine, SciStarter and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, serving as an ally to help Americans work together to build a national Culture of Health that enables everyone to lead healthier lives now and for generations to come.   Each year in […]

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How can we use medication efficiently to help more people? (Image Credit: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

This post is part of Exploring a Culture of Health, a citizen science series brought to you by Discover Magazine, SciStarter and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, serving as an ally to help Americans work together to build a national Culture of Health that enables everyone to lead healthier lives now and for generations to come.  

Each year in the U.S. millions of dollars’ worth of useable medication is destroyed. While at the same time one in four working adults cannot afford their medication. It is a confusing and unnecessary contradiction.

Fortunately innovative organizations recognize that by recycling or repurposing medication it is possible to limit waste and conserve resources while helping individuals live healthier lives.

SIRUM, a California-based online non-profit is bringing excess usable drugs to patients in need. Playfully dubbing itself ‘the Match.com of unused medicine’, SIRUM mediates the transfer of unused, unopened medication from donor organizations such as health facilities, drug manufacturers, and pharmacies to institutes that serve low-income patients.

Each year in the U.S. millions of dollars’ worth of useable medication is destroyed. How can we help? (Image Credit: SIRUM)

Each year in the U.S. millions of dollars’ worth of useable medication is destroyed. How can we help? (Image Credit: SIRUM)

 

“Once a donor facility choses a recipient clinic, SIRUM takes care of all the rest—recordkeeping, shipping, tracking, and more,” explains Kiah Williams, co-founder of SIRUM.

This efficient system not only improves patient health but helps to lower health care costs by reducing money spent on the manufacturing and purchasing of new drugs. SIRUM’s work got the attention of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) whose financial support is helping SIRUM expand their network and explore how their model might be replicated in other states.

“The foundation’s support has helped SIRUM expand its network to 260 medicine donors and enabled us to make over 740 donations in the last one and half years. That amounts to about $1.3 million worth of medication that would have otherwise been destroyed. And we have recently begun a pilot program in Colorado,” says SIRUM co-founder George Wang.

Taking a different approach to reuse medication is Cures Within Reach, whose mission is to advance drug and device repurposing.

Drug or device repurposing is not such a new idea. When clinicians prescribe medication for off-label use they are in essence repurposing that drug. The practice is more common when clinicians are faced with a disease lacking a prescribed treatment.

Why do we need to repurpose medication? (Image Credit: Cures Within Reach)

Why do we need to repurpose medication? (Image Credit: Cures Within Reach)

While off label use is legal, it is not regulated, meaning the beneficial effects of a drug’s off-label use is often not scientifically tested or systematically described. Cures Within Reach changes this by facilitating formal research into drug and device repurposing, particularly for rare diseases.

“New treatment research for rare diseases is not a priority for most private companies. It comes down to economics. Development and approval of a new drug can take billions of dollars and years of work. A company isn’t going to be able to recover that investment if the potential user population is so small,” says Dr. Bruce Bloom, President and Chief Science Officer of Cures Within Reach. “However, by focusing on repurposing market drugs, devices or nutraceuticals, we can try to find treatments for patients with overlooked diseases or conditions in a more cost effective and efficient manner.”

Cures Within Reach does not conduct or fund the research , but instead helps bring the important stakeholders, clinicians, researchers, and funding institutions together. With support from RWJF, CWR will be streamlining, scaling and globalizing this process with the development on an online platform.

The online platform will have two components. One is the Commons, an open participation platform where individuals can openly discuss potential treatments, get feedback on their ideas, organize research and connect with funders. The other component, the Vault, will be a private version of Commons. When there are concerns about intellectual property or research ownership, the Vault will enable users to solicit ideas or post funding opportunities while hammering out the details privately. CWR’s goal is to have a beta version of the platform up by winter and a fully functioning version running by the end of 2015.

“By thinking outside the box, SIRUM and Cures Within Reach are bringing treatments to patients who would otherwise go without, whether it’s because they can’t afford the medicine they need, or because it doesn’t yet exist,” says Deborah Bae senior program officer at RWJF. “As we strive to build a Culture of Health, it will be critical to move beyond ‘business as usual’ and explore novel approaches that help us address unmet needs.”

Do you have ideas or stories about how to repurpose health? Leave a comment below.

 

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Interested in opportunities to contribute to health research? Check out these two crowdsourcing projects.

Transparency Life Sciences is an open innovation drug company that encourages researchers, clinicians, patients and family members to participate in and improve clinical trial protocols. Researchers and clinicians can propose protocols or suggest alternative uses for stalled pharmaceutical compounds. Patients and families can provide their insight and needs to guide protocol development. Join their network to contribute your expertise, insight and experience. All data is open access.

Cure Together is a worldwide health research project to find cures for some of the most painful, prevalent, and chronic conditions. Users anonymously track their own health care data, including medication schedules, symptoms, and treatment plans, and provide it to other participants around the world. By donating their data, citizens can help forward research to understand their bodies, improve treatment policies and clinical research.

 

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MuseHack Interview with Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarterhttp://scistarter.com/blog/2014/08/excerpts-interview-darlene-cavalier-founder-scistarter/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/08/excerpts-interview-darlene-cavalier-founder-scistarter/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:19:34 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10198 Editor’s Note: Earlier this month MuseHack, the site “dedicated to getting your creativity active” interviewed Darlene Cavalier, the founder of SciStarter about citizen science, SciStarter and making a difference. Here are some excerpts from that interview. I spoke about the mission of SciStarter – but how would you describe your mission? First and foremost, we […]

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Editor’s Note: Earlier this month MuseHack, the site “dedicated to getting your creativity active” interviewed Darlene Cavalier, the founder of SciStarter about citizen science, SciStarter and making a difference. Here are some excerpts from that interview.

I spoke about the mission of SciStarter – but how would you describe your mission?

Darlene Cavalier, Founder, SciStarter

Darlene Cavalier, Founder, SciStarter

First and foremost, we want to help people recognize that they are as entitled as anyone else to play active roles in science and technology. In the process, we’ve been able to help a lot of researchers and other people organizing participatory research and civic engagement projects, recruit skilled participants. A win/win!

It seems that more and more people are getting interested in citizen science. Do you think this is true – and if so, why?

I think that’s true and I think more types of people are becoming increasingly interested: hackers, makers, educators, people from local, state and federal government agencies, foundations, corporations, and the media to name a few. Why? It’s likely a combination of factors: there are more opportunities, it’s never been easier to get involved or to share success stories and best practices, participants are forming their own communities and networks and so are the researchers and practitioners. Plus the media has helped lend visibility and credibility. Shout out to Discover Magazine, Public Library of Science and WHYY, in particular (our media partners).

 You’ve had an amazing career yourself.  What would you tell people that want to really make a difference like you have?

Just. DO. It. Become well informed on the issue you care about. That’s 100% on you. Information is accessible and usually free. I went to graduate school to explore a question nagging at me: where do I fit in science, if at all? I really didn’t care about the degree. I was on a personal quest. Once I found out about citizen science and related participatory public policy opportunities, I got involved then created SciStarter to help others learn about and get involved.

 

Click here to read the full interview on MuseHack!

 

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