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Citizen Science in Science Teacher Education

The following resources are designed to support science teacher educators as they introduce teacher candidates to citizen science as a means of engaging learners with climate change. They include a preview activity (completed out of class) that introduces teacher candidates to citizen science through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Celebrate Urban Birds program and two class session plans that science teacher educators can use as a component of their Science Methods courses.

Teacher candidates will: 

  • Define citizen science and describe its potential as a pedagogical approach
  • Articulate how teachers can prepare students to engage in citizen science
  • Use mobile technology tools to support citizen science data collection
  • Report data to a citizen science database
  • Examine and interpret citizen science data collected by themselves and others
  • Describe how they could incorporate citizen science into their science teaching practice to address grade-specific science content

Preview Activity: Introduction to Citizen Science

Preview activity to be completed by teacher candidates outside of class (also available in as a Word doc)

Description: This activity introduces teacher candidates to citizen science as a pedagogical approach. Teacher candidates view an episode of the PBS Kids show, SciGirls, which features adolescent learners engaged in citizen science through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Celebrate Urban Birds program. Next, teacher candidates preview the Celebrate Urban Birds website and data collection protocol. They reflect on the potential value of citizen science as a pedagogical strategy, and how they could engage students in this form of science learning.

Links:

Birds on a Wire

Engaging Learners in Citizen Science Data Collection: A Focus on Birds and Climate

Science methods class lesson plan (also available in as a Word document)

Description: This session will familiarize teacher candidates with citizen science as a pedagogical approach for climate change education. By engaging in citizen science data collection on campus through the Celebrate Urban Birds project, teacher candidates will examine the use of outdoor education and informal science education to support science teaching and learning. Instructors emphasize the potential of citizen science to provide opportunities for learners of all ages and backgrounds to take part in scientific research related to real-world problems, such as global climate change. Activities will model technology integration and engagement in core practices of science as described in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Links:

Documents and Materials:

  • PowerPoint presentation: Engaging Learners in Citizen Science Data Collection (PDF or PowerPoint Presentation)
  • Data Collection Instructions (PDF)
  • Bird species images (PDF)

Birds on a Wire

Engaging Learners in Citizen Science Data Exploration: A Focus on Climate-Related Citizen Science Initiatives

Science methods class lesson plan (also available in as a Word Document)

Description: This session will engage teacher candidates in considering the potential of including citizen science elements in their own science teaching. They will reflect on how citizen science can provide opportunities for educational technology integration in the science classroom, and discuss related benefits and challenges. In grade-level teams, teacher candidates will examine at least one additional citizen science project that aligns with a disciplinary core idea they will be expected to teach in science. In reflecting on these activities, teacher candidates will complete a drawing activity in which they envision approaches to using citizen science in their teaching practice.

Links:

Documents and Materials:

Birds on a Wire
We invite feedback at ClimateEdResearch@umd.edu. Please acknowledge MADE CLEAR when using these materials.