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    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      Citizen science and inquiry-based learning both tend to be hands-on, engaging, and fun for students. There are many practices that boost student learning and engagement in citizen science and inquiry that you’ve learned about so far. Which practices or approaches do you feel will be most important in your setting?
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    • Ashley
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      ABloch01
      I think it is important for my students to do science.  All to often, students have science thrown at them and are spoken about it, instead of doing it. I know in this past year I was totally guilty of this but, I'm giving myself grace during the past year with pandemic teaching :-). This year, I am hoping to get my students outside more and incorporate many of these practices and try to really use data from the local environment to really hook my kids into the material.  If I can find the appropriate citizen science project, I think that I can really excite the kids with the material.
    • Frank
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      fduross
      I think a more robust discussion of "how science is done" is important.  In Lesson 2 - the concept map shown provides a good visual showing that there is not just a single "scientific method" that is progressed through step by step.  There are a variety of ways that scientists work, we often simplify the science process when presenting to students that it becomes rigid and boring.  Demonstrating and discussing the joy of inquiry and science is what I have landed upon as the most important concept for me to focus on.
    • Jenny
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      jambud
      I want students' inquiry projects to stem from observations of the world. This isn't the place we start because it can feel unwieldy and challenging to prepare for as the questions could be quite vast. The reading gave me new perspective on this and when given space and time I think we can work this into our program. I have also found a citizen science project that is happening right outside our building! So that feels like a great place to start looking into ways to have students work go towards a larger project.
    • Lauren
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      laurenscull
      In our informal teaching setting, I feel it's important to resist the urge to answer every question. I love to get students involved in the process of finding answers. If we come across something that interests them, we can take a picture and then ID it using resources like apps or field guides. Educators don't have to have all of the answers -- they just need the skills to find them! I also feel that citizen science is an important tool to help students feel like their work is really contributing to something great than themselves. Anyone can be a scientist!
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Laura Schofield
      Starting last year, I will be looping with my 5th grade students into their 6th grade year. This gives me a great opportunity to teach them the skill of observation and wondering. In my setting I have noticed when students are shown a phenomena in the fall, i.e. fossils, rocks, video of animal behavior, UV bead and asked, "What they notice?" between 45-60% of my students will write IDK, "I don't know." About 65-75% would answer IDK, when asked, "What do you wonder?" Without students being able to answer the questions "What do you notice?" and "What do you wonder?," for themselves, science will always be "owned" by someone else. So starting last year, this became my student learning goal, to get 100% of my students to be able to answer these two questions for themselves, and to move from superficial or knowable questions to more "unknown" questions. The first thing I needed to do was to identify what were the hurdles for my students. The hurdles seemed to range from phenomena that was not engaging for my students; students needed more background knowledge; students were afraid of giving a "wrong answer," or that their observation/questions was "not a good one." For me, continuing to strengthen my students' confidence in answering the questions, "What do you notice" and "What do you wonder," is the foundation for my students owning their own interests and abilities to discover and will allow me to build activities that then incorporate the other science practices.
      • Kristin
        Participant
        Chirps: 28
        KristinBlack829
        I feel you on the "IDK" problems. The struggle is real. Your post reminded me that I'm not alone, and that continuing to encourage them, build their confidence, and foster those personal connections is the best way to get over this. :)
      • Stephanie
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        stephertan

        @Kristin Yeah, most of the time it's either "I don't know" or ...crickets.... I find that when I have them do a think/pair/share for answering questions then I get decidedly fewer of these. The thinking time helps them with the processing, the pairing off with a partner gives the shy ones a smaller audience and the sharing part gives them the option to let the other person speak.

    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      pricenj
      I think that helping students understand that when they take part in a citizen science project, they are contributing to real world scientific data.  This makes the work they do an authentic part of science and has benefits beyond the classroom.
    • Sue
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      SueWatts
      I think the practice I need to work on most is crafting experiments/observations and then working on collecting data. I think I will offer the participants in our Junior Naturalist Program some  autonomy in choosing a project to work on - althought  think I might be most inclined towards BirdSleuth or feeder watch.  I really feel that fostering patience and focus would be an excellent practice to build in our participants.
    • Jon Javier
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      jagjavier
      I am confident that our students (Philippine Science High School - Main Campus) receive high standard education in STEM and training in the scientific process and practices from K-7 to K-12. What I hope our students to experience is the third key youth practice identified in the research of Ballard, Dixon, and Harris (2017): engagement with complex social-ecological systems. We have the environment for this within the campus and the communities surrounding the school. Getting the students outside the confines of their classroom, to either introduce or let them discover the natural resources we have in the school community and create a spark to stimulate their curiosity and sense of wonder. Nature walks are perfect: bird watching / observation or plant identification. Collaborating with science teachers to elevate students knowledge of the natural environment and use citizen science projects to immerse the students in-depth in the science and engineering  practices.
    • Austin
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      austinkennedy612
      I would say citizen science BUT I believe in order to get teens excited about it, they first need to experience success with inquiry based learning. I want the inquiry based learning to drive their habits of being curious and solving issues that they themselves have developed questions to. Once they are strong contenders in inquiry based learning they will be more successful as citizen scientists.
      • Bridget
        Participant
        Chirps: 31
        BridgetL
        How right you are that teens need to having the building blocks to become excited about before they will be 'all in' on stepping outside of their comfort zone.  It is important to remember these first steps to introduce inquiry based learning before embarking on having them become citizen scientists.  Granted, some will jump-in full speed due to their natural tendency, but most will need that prior support.
    • April
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      AprilWhitehead
      I think that the most important practices for my classroom are
      • Modelling and practicing questioning as a part of the inquiry process
      • Providing students time to reflect and discuss their open-ended explorations we do in the lab
      • Engage students with our local environment through nature journaling birdwatching
      • Guide students as they make and record observations and data as citizen scientists while contributing to Project Feederwatch and eBird
      • Reinforcing the idea that people from diverse backgrounds ARE scientists who matter and contribute to many parts of our society
    • Rachel
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      restendahl
      Making sure that students feel that they are capable of being scientists by giving them the right tools as well as showing the wide diversity of people in science. Having the students take ownership of their citizen science projects by letting them choose one that resonates with them.
      • Austin
        Participant
        Chirps: 17
        austinkennedy612
        The word "capable" is so important when it comes to students feeling like they are making a difference!
      • Ashley
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        ABloch01
        I agree with "capable" - students need to have that confidence to know that they can do it!
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Sci8Lilly
      It is imperative to get students outside and start making observations and asking questions.  I love the “I Wonder” board and plan to use it from the very beginning of the school year.  They will be able to observe the transformation of their questions into ideas and results.  Students will have the opportunity to see how different kinds of questions can be answered.
      • Stephanie
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        stephertan
        Waaaaaay back when I first started teaching there was this program we were trained in called Talents Unlimited. The first part of any investigation was to come up with "many varied and interesting questions about..." whatever we were investigating. In primary school, we would have kids illustrate their questions on a page and we'd bind them into a class Big Book where we'd record the answers we found about the questions on the back of the pages. While this might be a bit much for middle or high school, I'll bet a few of them would get a kick out of it as long as you didn't do it too often!
    • Elandriel
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      elandriellewis
      Many early childhood teachers (including elementary) aren't super comfortable teaching science.  Often because they feel they have to be subject experts.  One of the things I love about the inquiry process is that it removes the concept as teacher as expert and replaces it with teacher as model and guide.  I think the Teacher Background Informaiton in Lesson 1 of the curriculum is something I'll definitely share - and they are excellent practices for pretty much anything you want to teach.  1) Share observations, 2) Model asking questions, and 3) Resist the urge to answer every question.  I often tell teachers the best response they can give to a child's question is "what do you think?" and this goes right along with #3.
    • Kimberly
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      kmichellehowell
      In my setting, I believe all of the practices will have equal importance, mainly because we haven't done a citizen-science project before and this will be a huge learning experience for us all. From students taking ownership of data quality and engaging with complex social ecological systems, to students seeing themselves as people who do science and then get involved with local and global issues related to their citizen-science project. These things which are also connected to The Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals), will help my students start to see how local and global issues are connected so that they can start taking action where they are.
    • Russell
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      rfriedman1212
      The practices I feel that are most important in my setting of teaching would be the Citizen Science Core Activities. These activities very much align with the values of our facility and even with the methods of the overall science community. By allowing learners to conduct their own studies, teaching them proper ways of collecting & analyzing data, communicating with one another as peers, testing their conclusions & solutions  we develop them into true scientists. We provide them with the opportunities that will hopefully inspire action. And not only do our learners take away these values and skills by being in our program but they then share these passions and knowledge to everyone they are connected with, and maybe even inspire others. Through our programming, we aren't just creating future scientists but also future stewards of our natural world.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      mgerhardt
      Getting them outside to observe.
    • Catia
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      catiawolff
      I will engage the students by promoting an "I Wonder" board so that students can have an opportunity to continuously ask questions.  After reading and listening to the videos, I am inspired to have the students bring their notebooks outside to gather information and write questions about what they are observing.  I would even encourage students to gather photos of species of plants and birds to identify and track.  Questions about what environment supports species and what conditions are unfavorable can be explored. Depending on my students interests, I will plan on joining a scientific community in which they can share their data collection and meet other scientists and citizen scientists.  The idea of understanding that you are part of a global community is an excellent means of motivating students to provide quality work.
    • Shelley
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Shelley_Metcalf
      We do a lot of nature walk and hikes in  great outdoor spaces around us already but I'm seeing how a citizen science project can really amp up those outdoor observation times into doing science and creating our own investigations.   We use notebooks to do sketching and make notes but I want to take that further and develop them into science notebooks with more detail and a definite place to record questions and more written observations that could lead us to investigations and a place to record those investigations. I really like the idea of having an I Wonder board, so I'd like to set up one of those to use. Citizen science projects can also help us find more ways of communicating our discoveries which we haven't really done so far.
    • Lori
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      MPBirding
      Our school is located on a very large campus that I want to help my students explore. We have gone outside in the past to do our eBird observations, but I know that there are so many more connections we can make. At the beginning of the year I want to spend more time working on observations in different parts of our campus and get the students asking questions. One thing I have always wanted to improve was how I collected student questions and made them visible to other learners. My hope in collecting and sharing class questions would be to promote a classroom culture of curiosity. Questions based on their observations could then lead to different projects and investigations throughout the school year.
    • Martha
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Martha gardenbird
      I have always found that my students prefer to do the community science work and that this preference leads to, at least, a willingness to learn the content that goes with the community science work. In other words, by emphasizing community science, students are more willing to take the notes, do the work, and create the project or presentation. Choice remains my go to method for creating student buy-in for science. Sometimes the choice is in content, sometimes it is in presentation method, sometimes the role within these. This can take a lot of work and it can mean the classroom looks really weird to those who do the teacher evaluations who are more used to a one-size-fits-all classroom, but as long as the students can explain what they are up to and why they are doing whatever it is they are working on, progress is made.
    • Todd
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      CoreCyclones
      There are many practices that boost student learning and engagement in citizen science and inquiry that you’ve learned about so far. Which practices or approaches do you feel will be most important in your setting? I think citizen science and inquiry-based learning HAVE to be engaging for it to work. Students can quickly lose interest if you don't hook them in early to the lessons/projects. Therefore, I think doing a discrepant event or observing something attention-grabbing is important.  They can follow up that short activity with making good, appropriate use of the "I Wonder" board as a way to dive into some inquiry-based investigation.
      • Maria (Dede)
        Participant
        Chirps: 74
        dpander37
        Good point about student engagement.  I like your idea of engaging students and then using the "I Wonder" board as a way to open the investigation.
    • Darlene
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      DarleneKehn
      I think the most important practices will be for me to have a CS activity for each major theme in my curriculum with the overarching general theme of practicing science and observation skills.  My students will put themselves in the shoes of a scientist by asking questions based off of their observations, collect and analyze data, and communicate their findings throughout the school year.  I think this will be done best through CS projects like iNaturalist, GLOBE, and CoCoRahs for my Earth science students.  This will be an excellent wait to monitor changes locally and seasonally, but also nationally and globally by comparing their data with other people throughout the country and world.
    • Kate
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Mrs Studey
      I have used my after school club as a testing ground for different aspects of citizen science and inquiry. I think the next step for me will be finding ways to incorporate it on a regular basis with my students during the regular school day. I agree with everything said previously about using outdoor spaces. Our school garden is a great starting point, but we have other green spaces on our campus that can be used as well. I would really like to find specific citizen science projects that relate to our standards because that would make it much easier to build in those projects to our units throughout the year. I guess it all starts with the first few months of the school year - start small, plan for some hiccups along the way, and be scientists ourselves - sometimes things don't always go the way you want them to. As long as you learn from it (even if it's what not to do next time), then it's still good practice.
      • Maria (Dede)
        Participant
        Chirps: 74
        dpander37
        Wow!  If you have a garden at your school, that is a great place to work on citizen science projects.
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      pkevans
      I plan on utilizing our classroom set of binoculars and cameras as we observe the school yard this year. We have a prairie in our school yard that the kids love to go through. There is so much for them to see. My 7th graders last year planted a native garden in the wettest part of the prairie. We will tend that garden and watch it flourish. The bunnies snacked on quite a few of our new plants, but I am hoping they rebound. Someone had mentioned observing trees throughout the year and recording what they see in their notebooks. I have tried notebooks in the past without success, but am going to try again this year! I hope to be able to take some field trips to get in the water as well.
      • Stephanie
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        stephertan
        What a terrific resource! I am hopeful that I can scrounge up some older ipads from classrooms but binoculars would be awesome!
    • David
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      lumpydave84
      At the risk of becoming an echo chamber to the other responses so far, I also plan on utilizing the outdoor spaces on campus to their fullest potential.  The plan as I have mentioned with our new course is for students to design, grow and plant their own beds on the school grounds.  We hope this is a chance for students to also pull from their creativity and artistic point of views when thinking about textures and colors.  Students will have to ask and answer their own questions about lighting, soil and water conditions.  From their the hopes is that future generations can build off of these plants, replacing what didn't work and collecting data on the species that utilize space based off the plants and flowers available.  An important piece is that not everything is going to work, that failure is a part of this, and with the correct data collection perhaps we can then learn from these mistakes together: not all of the seeds will germinate, not all the plants will take hold, perhaps the lighting conditions were wrong, etc.
      • Maria (Dede)
        Participant
        Chirps: 74
        dpander37
        I agree with you that "An important piece is that not everything is going to work". Students need to learn that with science, the experiment often fails to support the hypothesis, or simply fails.  Observations often take days or weeks to collect.
      • Stephanie
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        stephertan

        @Maria (Dede) Man I struggle with that! I like it when things go smoothly but there are so many lessons to be learned from those oops moments when things don't go as planned. I think having a "debriefing" session at the end of these units would be beneficial as well.

    • Bridget
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      BridgetL
      I too agree that getting students outside and actually seeing the world around them is of great importance.  I plan on incorporating times to not only hold classes outdoors, but to set aside specific times to explore our campus and incorporate an 'I Wonder' board so that students have time to observe and pose questions.  It will be important for students to feel supported in their questioning and that it is not a matter of being given an answer but allowing the students to explore, question, collaborate, discuss, and investigate.  I am understanding the power of having a outlet that is led by students instead of having everything teacher driven.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      binouser
      I agree with Kristin comments about utilizing the outdoor/green space of my campus. I am beginning to understand how I can use Citizen Science as a basis  to help my students improve their skill in writing, questioning, and observation.   I like the " I Wonder" board.  I have used the KWL chart before as part of my lessons, but I have the 'owner' of it.  I can see  with just a few adjustments to what I am comfortably doing, my students will reap the benefits with skill development.
    • Kristin
      Participant
      Chirps: 28
      KristinBlack829
      I think providing my students with an authentic learning experience like citizen science is exactly what is needed in my classroom. As I mentioned in another post, my school has a lot of outdoor/green space and while I have used it in previous years, I could be doing so much more with it. I can see us implementing a more structured citizen science project at the beginning of the year, and building upon that throughout the year with guided and/or open inquiry experiences. I also really like the approach of holding students accountable for their data and having a peer review system for that. It will add an additional sense of authenticity to the project.
      • Maria (Dede)
        Participant
        Chirps: 74
        dpander37
        Having lots of outdoor space is great for students to be able to explore and observe.
    • Maria (Dede)
      Participant
      Chirps: 74
      dpander37
      I think that students need to have practice making observations and using scientific equipment, but they also need exploration in the natural world to begin to develop questions about birds, ants, water, plants, trees, and many more things.  Time is always an issue in teaching, but using citizen science is a great tool to take students outside of the boundaries of the school into the field.  I think it's important to give students practice using the scientific method, science equipment, and practice making observations.  Also, by connecting students with field scientists through  citizen science, they can see themselves participating in valuable science and contributing real world data.  Brainstorming questions and hypotheses in class can enable students to start thinking more about what they want to know and their own learning.
    • Stephanie
      Participant
      Chirps: 33
      stephertan
      With my students, gifted 3-5th graders in a once a week pull-out setting, I think that the hands-on factor, positioning students as people who do science, and working to find solutions to self generated questions based on real world observation will be most beneficial to my students. Gifted kids are almost always motivated by "being in charge. " Both CS and inquiry allow students to feel important and know that their contributions are not just for a grade on the grade card. I am excited to use these programs and strategies with them.
      • Martha
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        Martha gardenbird
        I wonder if you might also want to address the health benefits of being outside with your gifted kids. With the pandemic, it sure seems that considering social and emotional health is becoming more important.
      • Stephanie
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        stephertan

        @Martha That's not a bad idea. With only one meeting per week with each group I'm struggling to make sure we go in depth but that we also don't get overloaded with material. My kids are usually really excited to get outside. I think the challenge will be getting them outside when it starts turning colder.

      • Maria (Dede)
        Participant
        Chirps: 74
        dpander37
        I agree with you that "gifted students" like to be "in charge", and this often "motivates" them.  Using different skills from different students for motivation is a good strategy.
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