The utility of citizen science projects in K-5 schools Measures of community engagement and student impacts
The field of citizen science is one of the fastest growing sectors in informal education, specifically because of the new opportunities that are now available within today’s digitized and networked world. This paper describes a unique co-created citizen science project, WeatherBlur, which brought fishermen, elementary students, and teachers from island and coastal communities together with research scientists via an online platform to share, analyze, and interpret data about the local impact of climate change. The project was designed utilizing a sociocultural learning approach that integrated communities of practice, knowledge building, funds of knowledge, and place-based education theory. The study aimed to understand how scientists, community members, and students interact to promote learning and collaboration within an online learning community. In addition, the study addressed the impact of the program on elementary student learning outcomes in earth science and graph interpretation. Data analyses suggest that the model implemented provided a high level of interactivity across all ages and groups, and increased students’ understanding of earth science and skills in graph interpretation. Findings are used to describe the utility of using citizen science projects in K-5 schools.
Kermish-Allen, R., Peterman, K., & Bevc, C. A. (2018). The utility of citizen science projects in K-5 schools: Measures of community engagement and student impacts. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-017-9830-4