• Beatriz Cristina
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      My class participated in Project Squirrel. This project was easier for us to put together and I thought it would be interesting and fun for my students to participate in. This was a good project to start us off in really observing animals and have students begin to wonder about them. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of questions my students had about squirrels, their bodies, their habitat and their actions.
    • laurie
      Participant
      Chirps: 34
      737075D3-FAA6-4EE4-8FAE-FC6DA07D9A26_1_105_c We have now begun our eBird program in our Kindergarten class. It has been revolutionary! The young ones are so astute at adopting apps and using them appropriately (with supervision so no data is input that cannot be amended!). The kids have quickly learned to use Merlin Bird ID and eBird apps. The challenges are technical... no data plans in the field mean we either a) use our own phone data to connect to the apps or b) remain in areas very close to the school in order to pick up a wifi signal. To make matters worse, our school-owned/school-managed iPads must be signed in and out making impromptu use difficult. To get around this, we use my personal iPad, my personal phone and we share ONE iPad that has been provided to the class for the year for the purposes of pedagogical documentation. This is the reality of underfunded tech in the world's public schools- lots of PD about 21st Century Learning without the equipment! In addition to the lack of school-provided tech is the bureaucratic red tape needed to download the apps, especially if there are any in-app purchases. Only members of our school's IT department (of one member) have permission to download apps onto Ministry provided tech. To do so, we have to provide a written rationale why these apps are needed, submit a work ticket, and wait our turn in queue. This means increased dependency on personal tech if we want to go ahead with our plans while we wait for apps to be approved and added. It also means potential money out of pocket as we purchase apps for our own phones/tablets. Learning Outcomes commensurate with the Four Frames of the Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum (Canadian)*:  Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours
      • Demonstrate an awareness of the natural environment through hands-on investigations, observations, questions, and representations of their findings
      • Demonstrate an understanding of numbers, using concrete materials to explore and investigate counting, quantity, and number relationships
      • Measure and compare objects (birds, etc) size/length, speed, etc. through inquiry and play-based learning
      • Apply mathematical processes to support the development of mathematical thinking; to demonstrate understanding , and to communicate thinking and learning in mathematics, while engaged in inquiry (counting, estimating, sorting/grouping, measuring, data management)
      Problem-Solving and Innovation
      • Demonstrate an ability to use problem-solving skills in a variety of contexts
      • Demonstrate literacy behaviours that enable beginning writers to communicate with others
      • Use the processes and skills of an inquiry stance that includes questioning, planning, predicting, observing, and communicating.
      • Use technological problem-solving skills in the process of their inquiries.
      Belonging and Contributing
      • Demonstrate a sense of identity and positive self-image "I'm a scientist!" "I'm a biologist!" "I'm an ornithologist!"
      • Demonstrate an awareness of their surroundings
      • Demonstrate an understanding of the natural world and need to care for and respect the environment
      Self-Regulation and Well-Being
      • Demonstrate independence, self-regulation, and a willingness to take responsibility in learning and other endeavours (self-reliance, willingness to try new experiences and adapt to new situations, self-motivation, initiative, confidence, and self-control)
      *The above overall expectations are further defined through specific expectations under each of these bullets above. For more information on the Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum you can go to www.edu.gov.on.ca/kindergarten/
      • Ashlee
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        I love that kindergartners are involved in watching birds!!!
    • Anna
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      I participated in Project Squirrel.  I found this project very easy and streamlined to participate in!  Students see squirrels all the time, so it wouldn't be something that would be overwhelming for them to take on, and they could start out visualizing themselves as successful.  They wouldn't have to know the name for any animal (we basically only have grey squirrels where I live) and they wouldn't need any special training.  I think this would be a very easy way for them to start observing, which would lead to wondering statements.  Squirrels are so common that we rarely think about them (like much of nature); however, when you start observing deeply it's easy to realize how many questions you might really have.
    • Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      I am participating in eBird. I wonder how will my entries  reveal trends or patterns in species sightings over time? With a new data collection tool on eBird, I am able to enter photos of birds I've taken in our wetland system from the past. The entries log in by the date the photos were taken. This may be a key in helping me to answer a question that has captured my curiosity over the time I have lived on a wetland.
    • Antoinette
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      I participated in the lost ladybug project.  We do spot ladybugs every once in a while especially in spring/summer and even when we return to school and the weather is still warm.  The students always get excited when they see a ladybug and how cool it would be for them to know about this project!  They like taking photographs too!  The challenges would be not finding ladybugs or spending days and days looking for them.  Since this is fairly simple, it would give us the opportunity to participate in one or two more citizen science projects.  I would expect my students to learn that they can help scientists, contribute to research and how we can help keep our ladybug population and why they are important.  The website is very easy to navigate, with a lot of resources and interesting information!
    • Beverly
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      I participated in eBird at a local hotspot nearby. I observed that despite the large amount of water there in swamp and lake form, there were not a lot of waterfowl in the water. We did however see great numbers of swallows. One of our challenges was trying to correctly identify between two kinds of swallows and trying to get an accurate count, since so many birds were constantly moving in a large group! This can be discouraging, especially since you want your count to be perfect for the larger scientific community using this data! If my students did a similar study, we would have to find ways to discuss dealing with frustrations and the discomfort of not being perfect.  Also, what can we do to mitigate our errors as citizen scientists? Questions about migration might also come up, since I would think they might predict seeing lots of waterfowl in an area with two different bodies of water as the main geographical element in the hotspot.
    • Deanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      I have been having a lot of fun in the past week with Seek and iNaturalist. I helped a college student with her ecology project at a local NMS with Seek. Challenges-- 1. Seek sometimes could not identify  a plant-- some that I knew the common name. We would try many times 2. Students are not allowed to have phones out in elementary school nor can they take them on a field trip. 3. Getting parents to do it with their child. I want to explore Monarch Larva Monitoring Project with my students to participate and input data... (not this fall with school data due to DL)
      • Anna
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        I like iNaturalist in my everyday life, too, but I agree that there are difficulties to using it.  Seek and iNaturalist both sometimes have trouble identifying things that have pretty clear pictures, and kids aren't going to get the best pictures, even with training on it.  We're one-to-one with students iPads, however, the iPads won't connect to the internet outside of our school building.  They can take pictures and upload them in the building, but it's not quite as easy as it would be to do it all at once, and it might interrupt some of the kids' enthusiasm.
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      I have not used a specific citizen science project with my students. I have been hoping to use e-bird to help with our field survey around the school. Last year we received our materials (binoculars, etc.) but was unable to use them with the school closure. This year we are figuring out ways to adapt our field survey to fit the current state of our school, whether it be virtually or in-person. I think the biggest challenge is equity -- finding a project that allows all students to be involved regardless of the type of phone they have or their access to the internet.
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 33
      I tried Budburst and I love the focus of their citizen science projects but I did not think the site was laid out well or user friendly. I had to access the site by typing in www.Budburst.org rather than finding a link on the website of the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG), who they are affiliated with. I had to dig down into CBG’s website to even find a link to Budburst, and it was hard to locate. Once I made it through all that frustration discovered a hidden page where I could take my collected data and input it onto the site. I think they need to develop an APP for this project which would make collecting and uploading the data easier. I would need to work with this site more before I would suggest this project for a classroom because I think finding the data would be too confusing.
    • David Lockett
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      I also downloaded e-Bird and am taking the e-Bird Essentials course. Central Florida has productive ecosystems that can support a variety of birds. It is home to productive ecosystems that can support a variety of birds. This is beneficial to not only student understanding but from an educator as well. We have participated in various Globe Projects to build citizen science understanding.
    • Jessica
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      I chose to participate in eBird. My husband and I went kayaking on the bay last Sunday at 6:00pm. I was surprised with how little birds we saw and were able to identify. There were a few gulls flying overhead but I could not differentiate the species. On the way back to the beach at about 7:45pm we saw two beautiful great egrets at the shore line near the reeds. These birds were much larger and still so it was easier to identify them.   This birding experience was challenging because the kayaks were moving and it was so difficult to look through binoculars while on the kayak because of the current. There is a path along the shore road I will try to walk next time and participate. I think it will be much easier to observe and identify while on dry land.   Using the Merlin Bird ID application was very helpful. I wasn't sure if the bird I saw was a heron or egret but was later able to determine it was an egret using the app.   I think having my students participate in this project has made them excited about science and excited to learn about native birds. Teaching them the power of observation is key to this project and may take more time than I originally thought. I have created native bird guides that I use with my students when we go out birding. This narrows things down for them and allows them to more easily identify what they see. It is always fun when there is a "mystery bird" that is not on our field guide. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HmeyjLtKW6_SfiAjBC65a1lBiOU-cKrs/view?usp=sharing
    • Sylvia
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      I participated in the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP). It is rather detailed in terms of documenting your area. I had to go out and measure. They track temperature, but I just used my cell phone for that info because I don't keep a thermometer outside. The MLMP also have videos to help train yourself. I watched several videos about how to determine what instar phase the caterpillars are in. This was helpful and a lot of new information for me, but very practical. They have different monitoring sheets you can use depending on how you want to track data, whether it is just 1 event or regular data collection. I was also very curious how many caterpillars I have in my garden, and I wanted to spend some time seeing if I could find any chrysalids ( I found 2, and then 2 caterpillars J-hanging) along with the 30 other caterpillars I found in my garden. It was hard to find eggs, partly because our native plant species Asclepias fascicularis has thin leaves and so it takes a loooooong time to look under each leaf for eggs. Usually, when Monarchs come around, I follow them after they visit a plant to see where they put their eggs. Right now it has been much cooler, foggy and with misty rain earlier in the morning and day. So temperatures are cooler and I haven't been seeing any Monarch butterflies. What is interesting this year is the record number of caterpillars in my garden and how they are all on the A. fascicularis. In the past, I usually find the caterpillars on the Asclepias speciosa, but not this year. My native garden is more established and I also have more fascicularis than speciosa now. I wonder if this has an effect on how easily the Monarchs can find the plants? I have a lot of aphids on all my Asclepias now but that wasn't the case a few weeks ago. I also wonder if that made it difficult for me to find any eggs. All the eggs (2) I found were  on speciosa. The caterpillars are just devouring my plants, so I am wondering how many of them will make it to the chrysalid stage. Most of the caterpillars I found were in late 3rd instar phase (10), 7 in 4th instar phase, and 9 in 5th instar phase. Oh I only found 2 caterpillars on the Asclepias speciosa total. Today was the first time I document Monarch observations in my garden, but I have been going out to watch them for weeks now. I have been very intrigued by their behavior, because I usually go out and look at them in the late afternoon and one of the things I notice is that in the evenings quite a few of them leave the Asclepias plants and go off to other plants that are not Asclepias. I have found them on the Hummingbird Sage, Cercis and California Asters even when they are not in 5th instar. I wonder what they are doing? Are they ready to molt? Are they trying to camouflage themselves for the evening?  I can see how important it is to look at data over time to get a clearer indication of what the data means.
    • Allison
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      I did the Great Sunflower Project. While I use iNaturalist and participate in citizen science projects that require photo observations, I love finding projects that do not require photos with your observations. Working in a park, I don't have technology that I can share with a large group of people and we often do drop-off programs that don't involve the parents or their phones. This makes it hard to do many citizen science projects, but I'm very excited to try out the Great Sunflower Project and even eBird with a group of students. I noticed while doing my count that it might be a little difficult to identify a pollinator while keeping up with other pollinator species coming and going. It might help to do this project with a group of kids or in pairs. I expect the students to see many more species of pollinators than they would have expected and to be curious about their behaviors, flying from flower to flower. It's also always great to teach and reinforce the importance of pollinators. This can be a great activity to spark "I Wonder" questions!
    • Edna
      Participant
      Chirps: 26
      I downloaded e-Bird and am taking the e-Bird Essentials course.  My students will be able to use e-Bird on their iPads at school.  Since all students have iPads this will not be a problem if we are back in the classroom in the fall.  (Challenge) Otherwise, if we continue with remote learning, my percentage of student participation will be affected due to lack of devices and/or wifi. With e-Bird, I plan on forming an Early Bird Club which is an idea that I am borrowing from another post I read earlier in the course.  We will research the best types of birdhouses and bird baths for our location.  We can tap into local resources to help with identifying what is best for our playground.  We have WVU Extension Service in Parkersburg, WV and Bird Watchers Digest in Marietta, OH.  Modern Woodmen provides free binoculars each year for students and I have several sets of higher end binoculars acquired through grants.   Some of the learning outcomes will be students learning to identify species of birds, become familiar with species common in our area, record observations carefully distinguishing actual observations (sight, sound), discuss characteristics which help identify certain species, share our data via classroom e-Bird, and discuss notes after each birding adventure.
    • ej
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      Project: I was most curious about CoCoRahs, but that required ordering a rain gauge, so will have to wait til one arrives... Meanwhile, I did BudBurst which was pretty straightforward. You do need to register to enter data, but then can start doing so immediately. You could actually print off blank report sheets and start collecting data before registering. Registration was quick and it was easy to start entering data from just reading through the basic 1-2-3 overview, though the “Get Started” overview was much more thorough. Challenges: A big challenge I often face with online learning opportunities (which includes many citizen science projects) is finding ones that do not require smartphones or tablets due to regularly having a fair number of participants who don't have or use them and/or working in tight time frames where dealing with tech can eat up a considerable amount of limited time. BudBurst had reasonable balance between high & low tech options. Participants note the species, location, and phenological phase of one or more particular plant. On one end, they could use a smartphone, photograph & upload a plant photo, and enter and submit the data immediately. On the other end BudBurst provides printable report sheets for gathering the same data which one could merely use for their own personal observations and data analysis. And there are many options in between - skip the photo altogether; take photo with a regular camera and upload; collect data on paper (using their forms or creating your own) and upload later. In any case, they can then access their personal data or the BudBurst database to analyze data, identify trends, etc. One other potential challenge - having looked over much of the website, I only noticed photos of plants in full flower, but not photos/illustrations of the plants in their different phases which could be limiting in terms of definitively identifying it before it reaches a clearly identifiable stage (depending on time, ages, and resources). Learning outcomes: At a very basic level, BudBurst resources could be used to teach participants observation skills including how to recognize general and species specific phenophases. Participants could also collect and report phenophase data, use observation or collected data to compare phenophase data by species, location, season, year, habitat, or some growing conditions and analyze potential similarities/differences. Particpants could cross reference with other available data (e.g. weather and compare to weather+phenological phases of different years. Participants could develop theories and further analyze data or design experiments to determine conditions that might affect phenophase timing.
    • Jackie
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      I used Seek. It was super easy to use. I was able to identify several plants and an insect. Even as an adult, I was getting excited about getting my badges. It was also neat to be able to have some things only being labeled as a dicot or insect. I definitely will need to spend some time explaining this to students. The first challenge I thought might be an issue would be having my students who are English Language Learners (ELLs). I really liked seeing the different language options. I had several students this past year that were struggling with their English skills. I think this would be a great introduction to citizen scientist concepts. I think making sure that students take good pictures and that the better the picture the more information can be recorded.  
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      Our land trust runs a feeder watch program similar to Project Feeder Watch, but in an abbreviated time frame in the spring, and then we encourage participants to sign up for Feeder Watch the following fall. I have been responsible for the program just these two past years, with drastically different outcomes. In 2018 we concentrated mainly on school classrooms and homeschool groups in a limited portion of our region due to staff resources. In 2019, we started with the same audience, but throughout the region, then pivoted to doing things online with anyone who wanted to participate. Based on both experiences, I am looking forward to developing a set of year-round activities that encourage people to continue learning beyond feeder watching, and that involve using eBird and other online citizen science apps. I have used eBird myself to begin documenting observation on our wildlife sanctuary property. I have a lot of learning and practice to do, but intend on incorporating it into more of our programs in general, as well as offering more specific programs focusing on the many apps available. Combining non-screen experiences such as nature journaling and citizen science apps as well help everyone to better connect with nature and the environment - all ages, all abilities, all backgrounds. Non-screen approaches allow those without equipment such as a smart phone or iPad to feel that they can also contribute to the process.
      • ej
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        I whole-heartedly agree on the inclusion of non-screen approaches. I often work with groups including members who can't, don't, or won't use portable devices due to age, financial, connectivity, technological, philosophical,  privacy, or other concerns. But many of these audiences (retirees, rural families, traditional homeschoolers) have the time, dedication, and interest in being active observers/data collectors/citizen science participants.
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      I did Planet Four: Ridges I examined photos of Mars for two types of ridges: polygonal ridges and Meridiani type. I was wondering if I really was reading the terrain correctly and kept comparing the photos with the comfirmed pictures in the begining. It was a little nerve wracking but fun at the same time. The outcome for my students that I would expect: I would hope that they would feel it was worth while and that they were making a difference. I would hope that they would be excited and question. I would hope they would enjoy the experience.
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      While I haven't yet participated in a Citizen Science project, I am taking this course in anticipation of being able to complete at least one with my students.  Given what I know so far about 6th grade Science, (I have previously taught 3-5 grade Science), I know that we will be studying the Rock Cycle, Weather, and Outer Space.  I am hoping to get involved in the Clouds Citizen Science project.  I would also love any guidance in finding others that work with these topics.  I've been looking a bit but haven't found much.
      • Edna
        Participant
        Chirps: 26
        I attended an online workshop in May with Joshua Revels through our Fairmont, WV NASA location.  He provided one of the best sessions about clouds.  It was centered around GLOBE.  He shared many resources.  This was focused on elementary, but I am sure some of the information would easily transfer to 6th grade.  This is their website: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/ivv/home/index.html.
      • Edna
        Participant
        Chirps: 26

        @Edna GLOBE website:  https://observer.globe.gov/do-globe-observer/clouds

    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      *disclaimer- I am not selecting an above project due to my location- For this response- I am basing it on one of my previous experiences. "Bio-Cube" (a project spin-off of the one square meter project) is one I performed with a group in the Amazon at 4 different locations at the ACTS research Station. (Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies) and I modified this project to be done with my Global Environmental Issues course. The challenges of collecting and reporting data in a remote location are tremendous.  I communicate a few times a year with the program head about "how do we collect meaningful data which can be recorded over time in a way where we can look at trends." I think that project, while tremendously valuable for students, seems unattainable at times, when you are confined to an 11 day experience and are continually moving from one location to another where the focus is something entirely different at each location. I want to have an experience where my students can be immersed in biodiversity, culture,  and service, but the scientist in my is like- let's just stay here at ACTS and be scientists! It is a struggle and one I hope to make better before my next trip there with students.... (whenever that will be).  The students worked in teams, collected data on the biodiversity, weather/atmospheric conditions, etc... and participated in a reflection activity post field work- But the recording of that data alongside the congested work space on is using to collect and report the data to each other was a challenge.  They didn't mind the environmental conditions, more so the fact that they couldn't all get down to look inside this tiny little biocube.  When I returned I modified a similar activity where I had 1 meter square dowels made.  While the space was bigger, they complained that their biodiversity was limited... Which did lead to some great conversations about rural vs suburban areas and how over time, biodiversity in natural places are being relocated, habitats demolished, etc. I suppose having the suburban discussion was one in which drives the point that industrialization, human impact, and the economy take precedence over our natural spaces.  The students had the a-ha moment of realizing that we invaded their homes and that spider/ant/plant actually do belong here and it was humans who have mostly impacted the rate of environmental destruction. This also poses the question- how do we connect/enhance/foster conservation and preservation of our natural spaces better so that we can bring this same awareness to others? Overall, it fails in the mission of sharing what a biodiverse place our earth can be... but succeeds in the mission of making them realize that humans are destroying it and humans can help re-build it.
    • Alaina
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      While this was not a project we have discussed, this weekend I actually worked to organize a Loon Census in partnership with the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation. We had a record 70 people sign up, and I distributed forms for them to collect their data across the region in different waterbodies. The main challenge was ensuring that none of the locations overlapped so that loons were not counted twice. I also will be challenged once I receive everyone's data, as I will be combining it all and creating one regional reference map to share with the ADK Center. As far as learning outcomes, participants learned: 1. How to make observations 2. How to observe wildlife from a distance without disturbing their behavior 3. How to record and report data 4. Where loons are present at the census time Once all the data is compiled, participants will learn the distribution of Common Loons throughout the state, which behaviors were most commonly spotted, the average number of loon chicks at this date and time, and that their contributions are valuable!
    • Nikki
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      I am exploring ways in which my science department can incorporate citizen science in the classroom. Last school year, I had the students participate in bird observations and answering questions about the traits of their dogs and cats. I am looking forward to doing the water experiments and possible teaching trout in the classroom for the delta region of where I live. I just need to make sure that the projects are of interest to my students.
    • Nini
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      I haven't spent much time this week on using the described apps.  I do take a lot of photographs of plants and so I used iNaturalist to identify a plant.  I wondered about accuracy and whether species living in an alpine environment might be different than what was named.  I can imagine that using Seek would be a way to engage our elementary students in finding out what is living on the trail next to their playground.  This could lead to developing signs giving information about the plants or making a field guide.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      I had been introduced to iNaturalist before but tried out Seek for this assignment and loved it!  I scanned several plants around my yard.  I earned two new badges, one for Common Lamb's-quarter and one for my dog!!!  One problem was that sometime species were hard to identify, possibly because there were many other overlapping species.  Another was that the identifications varied in terms of their specificity.  However, my students would love using this around the schoolyard and could learn more about making observations, classification terminology, local species, etc.  Super fun!seekpic
    • Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      I signed up for the MLMP (Monarch Larva Monitoring Project), since we have a couple milkweed plants in our patio garden. It takes a little bit of time to set up your site(s) and to navigate through to figure out what to do. One of the observations asks for temperature in the shade but we do not have an outside thermometer, so I used my WeatherBug. Another activity asks for rainfall, so I skipped that activity for now. I did find five live eggs on our plants, which I recorded. We did not have larvae, but I did see that it asks for instars (stages) of any larvae, which I promptly Googled. Besides fumbling through navigation, the project is pretty easy and flexible to your time schedule. One of the activities calls for collecting larvae or eggs and bringing them inside to observe for survivability. In Ohio, we mail ordered painted lady caterpillars to raise and release...I find that bringing native eggs in to observe to be much more connecting to our environment, and more relevant to our practices. I also think that this project would open up more questions from students about monarchs, milkweeds, and their surrounding environment. I would expect students to become more interested in the relationship between insects and plants, and become better observers of things that they might not normally pay any attention to. I would also expect students to try and catch monarchs in the act of laying eggs, and for them to expand this experience to other insects and animals with other plants. While looking at our plants, we saw a Gulf Fritillary (thank you to my Seek app) on our passion flower, ergo and therefore called the passion butterfly! Questions and observations lead to more questions. So, even though this is a patio garden, I can see where it would be easy to experience real science, asking questions, making observations, and creating experiments. To wrap up my wordy post, I could see students documenting data, size, drawing or taking pictures, writing and presenting. We're (teachers) learning along with them, but it definitely is important that we set up our project for success with the right tools and preparation, and that we guide our students to keep them on track.passion butterfly
      • Mark
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        PS - I earned my bronze insect badge on Seek with this observation :)