What is Citizen Science? Deep Dive (2 of 2)
Lesson 2 of 13
Objective: Students will be able to: 1) articulate the connection between citizen science skills and future careers; 2) participate in an online discussion about citizen science; 3) explain and evaluate Earthwatch citizen science projects; and 4) present an informational summary to the class using technology
This is the first use of an online discussion in the class. As such, I will carefully model the process of accessing the discussion space, posting a submission, and responding to a post. (I am using the Haiku LMS for this discussion.)
Teacher move: What might be the advantages of an in-class online discussion?
Online discussions in class may have some of the following benefits: students that do not like to speak in front of a group have an opportunity to express voice; students have a larger menu of comments that they may respond to; student ideas are often more cogent because the act of writing allows for revision before public submission.
What is Citizen Science? Why is Citizen Science a key aspect of your Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education? Support your answer with evidence from your school experience and the video below from Bard College. Respond to at least TWO other students.
A note on discussion forum resources
There are many online resources available for use in a high school classroom. Three that I frequently use include:
- Haiku learning management system
- Google docs
These online platforms allow me to both develop discussion environments for only students and monitor and track student participation.
Citizen Science: Deep Dive
How will we transition?
Students will be "cut off" from the discussion after 15 minutes. We have some amazing responses and I am impressed with your ability to use technology so well. At this point we are going to transition into an activity that is provide us with some real world examples of citizen science.
Activity Overview (Example provided from an English Language Learner cohort)
*Many teams will not be able to get to all parts of this activity during the time allotted. As such, for many classes, this may turn into a two day lesson. This will almost certainly be true of ELL classes. The first day will be a introduction to Padlet and a choice of expedition. The second day will be the Padlet creation, peer review, and design thinking.
Students will work in partners to publish a description of an Earthwatch expedition. In contrast to the "shallow dive" from the previous lesson, I frame this activity as a "deep dive". Students will pick one area and work to understand a lot about it. They will need to understand enough to publicly describe their knowledge and answer questions. You will need to have a near expert level of knowledge about your chosen expedition! Finally, students will critically evaluate published work and provide peer feedback. They may also begin to think about the problems described by Earthwatch research from an engineering design thinking perspective. We are a community of citizen scientists. Your voices are just as powerful and insightful as my own. I will be asking teams to provide feedback to each other in the process so that we can all grow from the developing expertise of our group.
Many of the activities in this unit incorporate technology and my purpose in choosing Padlet is to provide students with a feeling of success with technology in the classroom. My courses become increasingly blended over time, and while many students have been using technology for a long time, their comfort and familiarity with technology use in an academic setting is often underdeveloped. As such, onramping students with something like Padlet--an interface that I have learned students find enjoyable to use and easy to navigate--is a first step in creating a blended learning environment that feels safe and accessible. It also helps that Padlets are often quite beautiful which pushes students to take ownership over products.
First, I model how to use the Padlet interface and I teach my students how to access the particular page for their class from a digital document that I have uploaded to Edmodo. I also show them a sample product. Then I review each step of the process below and give students a 30 minute work completion goal, knowing that this may spill over into the next lesson depending on the skills of the cohort. Here is a sample Padlet page with some sample student work for this assignment.
Step 1: Choose an expedition
This activity begins with distribution of photocopied Earthwatch expedition guides. I assign a different expedition theme to each of my classes: wildlife and ecosystems, ocean health, and climate change. Student teams spend a few minutes reading the summaries of expeditions within that theme and choose an expedition. They then make their choice by placing a small post-it with the team's choice and identifying information on a large world map I have on a lab table in the center of the room.
Step 2: Deep Dig
Students navigate the Earthwatch website to find the detailed view of their chosen expedition. They extract, and analyze, and synthesize the information they find.
Step 3: Publication
Students create their Padlet post. Students having trouble with the interface are redirected to "Padlet experts" in the room. I identify Padlet experts while checking in with students during this process; these experts agree to be a resource for other students in the room wanting direct help with the Padlet interface.
Step 4: Peer review + information synthesis + engineering design thinking
Student teams critically annotate published submissions from other teams. They are assessing how well other teams met requirements of the project. They are looking to understand differences and similarities among projects. They are also brainstorming solutions to problems identified by Earthwatch projects. I facilitate the process of teams interacting with each to accomplish these processes.
*Many teams will not be able to get to this stage during the time allotted. We will visit this topic during the debrief.
What is the debrief?
Similar to the debrief in the previous lesson, I am most curious to understand when and why students felt the need to opt out of the activity. Some questions I might asks are:
1) What about the technology made it difficult to accomplish this work?
2) How do you think your classmates will react if you say that they might want to change parts of their work?
3) Did we have enough time? If you felt like you needed more time, how did you feel when you were asked to stop?
My purpose is to understand the parts of this process that my students begin to feel unsteady so that I might better meet these needs in future lessons.
What are next steps?
Many of my students do not have reliable access to technology. As such, I will encourage students to work on this assignment if they are able to do so, but I will plan on dedicating a next day in class to project "work time" and peer review.