Instructifeature — Citizen science: Real-world applications for science studentsApril 6, 2011
“Why do we have to learn this stuff?” It’s a familiar — and frustrating — question for many teachers. And answering “because I said so” satisfies neither you nor your students. No matter their grade level, students are increasingly aware that what they do in school should matter in the real world. It is the teacher’s job to ensure that students can recognize the relevance of their classroom lessons. One way to accomplish this goal is to involve students in a citizen science project.
What exactly is citizen science? No, it doesn’t entail buying a bunch of materials that will put you on a terror watch list. Rather, it is a way to get ordinary people involved in real research with real scientists. If you’re wondering, “How is this beneficial to the scientists?,” it comes down to man power and man hours. Researchers have a static number of hours in the day and a limited number of lab assistants available for data analysis. And in many cases they have a lot of data.