My project is about citizen science and how it can be incorporated into an educational setting. Citizen science is a recently established field of science where experts of science can get help from non-experts through input of data and observations. This research matches exactly with my ultimate goals of becoming an effective secondary level biology teacher. I would like to explore a variety of ways to make science applicable to a diverse group of students. Citizen science allows science non-experts to make observations about their region and incorporate it into a large online database, so this would be a perfect way to allow students to explore the nature and process of science as well as help them understand that they can make a difference in the world.
Most of the work I actually do is on the computer. Last month I took an online course offered by the Citizen Science Academy. In this course, I got to explore a variety of citizen science projects such as CoCoRaHS, Project BudBurst, and eBird. I also got to write an educational activity and full lesson plan including two of the projects and received feedback. After the course finished, I am now moving towards seeing the big picture and what best practices there are for utilizing citizen science in the classroom. I will ultimately write a lesson plan tailored to Virginia Standards of Learning in grades 6-12.
As a student in the Bachelor’s/Accelerated Master’s program for Secondary Biology Education, I am enrolled in classes that are teaching me about pedagogy and how to incorporate aspects of it into my research. For example, one class I had last week discussed writing learning objectives and formative and summative assessments, and these are both very important components of a successful and effective lesson plan that I will ensure to ultimately work towards.