Turn your students into scientists!
Your students can actually help collect data for actual scientific research projects!
Hardly a day goes by that I don't check the Scientific American web site. Not only does it have great news stories for me to share in my classroom, but it has a section called "Citizen Science" that is just a fantastic way for us science teachers to involve our students in actual, ongoing scientific research projects. This explanation comes directly from the Citizen Science section of the web site:
Currently, there are two projects available that particularly interest me. Both of these can be done with students at school, or can be done by children with their parents at home during the holidays.
This project is called "Christmas Bird Count". "The National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count(CBC) is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of citizen scientists across the US, Canada and many countries in the Western Hemisphere, go out over a 24 hour period to count birds.Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 24-kilometer diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. All CBC’s are conducted in the period from December 14 to January 5 each season, and each count is conducted in one calendar day.
The data collected by observers over the past century allow researchers, conservation biologists and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years."
You have to sign up for this project through the link above to find out if this is being done in your area. You will be assigned a specific route to follow.
This project is called "The Whale Song Project - Whale FM".
I particularly like this project because it can be done in the classroom or at home on your computer.
"Through the Whale Song Project, citizen scientists are presented with a whale call and shown where it was recorded on a map of the world’s oceans and seas. After listening to the whale call citizen scientists are asked to listen to a number of potential matching calls from the project’s database. If a match is found, the citizen scientist clicks on that sound’s spectrogram and the results are stored.
The dataset generated by this project should help scientists to answer a number of questions regarding whale communication."
There are new projects being added to Citizen Science all the time. This is a fantastic opportunity for the students in our science classrooms to participate in current scientific research projects.
P.S. I am adding this little tidbit of information. After my blog post was published, I was made aware of this site: SciStarter. It has a wealth of information on projects that you can join.