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Students as Citizen Scientists


This webinar will summarize findings from two MSP projects that involve elementary and middle school students participating in real science research that is integrated into their classroom instruction. One project, titled Curriculum and Community Enterprise for the Restoration of New York Harbor with New York City Public Schools involves over forty schools, eighty teachers, and 8,640 students in densely populated, low-income urban areas where resources and access to natural areas are limited. Students study New York harbor and the extensive watershed that empties into it, and they conduct field research in support of restoring native oyster habitats, building on the existing Billion Oyster Project of the New York Harbor School. A number of partners play key roles in the project including Pace University, the New York City Department of Education, the Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the New York Academy of Sciences, the New York Harbor Foundation, and the New York Aquarium. The project includes five interrelated components: A teacher education curriculum, a student learning curriculum, a digital platform for project resources, an aquarium exhibit, and an afterschool STEM mentoring program. The second project, titled iEvolve with STEM, involves more than 3,000 students and 75 teachers in two medium-size, Midwestern school districts, one low-income urban district and one neighboring district with mixed demographics. Each grade level participates in a different research project that is aligned with some of the state learning standards. Lessons have been developed that integrate the students’ research into all four core academic subject areas: science, math, social studies, and language arts. Professional scientists affiliated with a number of partners lead the research projects and provide scientific consultation to ensure the scientific validity of students’ research and to assist with their contributions to national and international citizen science research projects. This presentation will provide a summary of the key features of these projects and will report what has been found regarding the factors and resources that make it possible for students and teachers to participate in science research in meaningful and successful ways as well as the outcomes and benefits from integrating this into classroom instruction.