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Turning Students into Citizen Scientists


"As citizen science grows in popularity, most of the attention focuses on adult volunteers and their potential contribution to science and society. But what about all the millions of children studying science in school as they learn the skills of citizenship? Would hands-on involvement in real science projects simultaneously teach them about the scientific process and make them feel more engaged with the world they'll soon inherit? Could these budding scientists contribute actual data and knowledge that adds value to science and society? From our experience in education, the answers seem to be a resounding "yes".
This chapter explores citizen science in schools. We'll highlight key learnings from the scientific literature, then we'll explore the case study of a large teacher-developed citizen science project at the Leysin American School in Switzerland called LETS, for Local Environmental Transect Survey. We'll hear from students who've participated in the LETS project. We'll also examine how citizen science can be integrated into teaching, sharing some of the ideas generated by the session "Embedding Citizen Science Into Schools" held at the 2016 ECSA conference in Berlin."