Two models for implementing Citizen Science projects in middle school

Kathryn Paige, Robert Hattam, Christopher B. Daniels


Australia, like other developed countries grapples with the education of its citizens, particularly the scientific aspects of global environmental problems that require well-informed literate citizens and an urgent need for more scientifically literate knowledge workers. This paper takes this crisis as a provocation for thinking about one approach developed internationally—the citizen science approach. Whilst there are a lot of reports from citizen science projects, especially in scientific journals, there is a paucity of research about how citizen science has been taken up in the public culture and in schools. This paper outlines two different models both using an action research model that has teachers as co researchers with tertiary educators. Firstly, teachers have engaged with a large public citizen science program in which students collect scientific data around iconic species, such as possums, magpies, blue tongue lizards and spiders. Secondly, middle school teachers select a citizen science topic that connects to their student life worlds, in an attempt to raise the educational aspirations for learners through tertiary participation, and excellence in school-based curriculum development. This paper describes the two models used to develop scientific citizenship in middle schools in Adelaide, South Australia.

Key words: Citizen science, socially critical pedagogy

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