Reflection: Advanced Degrees The Billion Oyster Project: Program evaluation and design iteration (2 of 2) - Section 1: FRAME: Taking action


Citizen science research is typically a low agency affair.  This means that participants collect data following a protocol and submit collected data to managing scientists.  My intention in this lesson was to create more of a high agency framework.  My thinking was that if students were better equipped with skills, concepts, and background knowledge, they would become more invested in community-based environmental science.  

The attached resource provide the interested educator with a sampling of the emerging research literature investigating the factors of impactful citizen science initiatives.  While much of this work remains theoretical, recent studies suggest that the level of participant agency in citizen science projects matter.  Those projects that ask participants to merely collect data do not have as much impact as those projects that ask participants to take ownership over process.  As noted in my debrief of this unit, my own research suggest that students that act as data collectors do not experience any significant attitude changes towards STEM or 21st century skills.  While there are other ways of measuring effectiveness, one of my goals in engaging students in citizen science projects is to shift students attitudes towards STEM.  My hope is that my students will want to become lifelong learners and practitioners in STEM fields.  Current research pushes me to accept that I must alter my citizen science lessons if they are to be effective.

  Advanced Degrees: Did this lesson work? Teacher as researcher
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The Billion Oyster Project: Program evaluation and design iteration (2 of 2)

Unit 2: Citizen science, Student design
Lesson 10 of 13

Objective: Students will be able to: 1) iterate on current design solutions that aim to rehabilitate oyster populations; 2) explain the importance of oysters to healthy urban ecosystems; and 3) evaluate environmental stewardship prototypes using an engineering-design thinking mindset.

Big Idea: Scientific research helps us to evaluate the impact of prototype solutions to environmental problems. How might our participation in the Billion Oyster Project help us better understand the relationship between science and engineering design?

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