Citizen Science Educational Partnerships for Experiential STEM Learning and Professional Development
Presented by: Earthwatch Institute
Strand: K-12 Education
Earthwatch Institute, a Boston-based environmental citizen science non-profit, has spent the last 45 years perfecting the citizen science model as a vehicle for supporting researchers in need of funding and data collection support. Over the last 5 years, we have refocused our efforts toward applications relevant to teachers and students, particularly those in STEM fields. Through collaboration with a number of educational partners throughout the US, including Lincoln-Sudbury High School in Massachusetts and various other partners across the country, we have determined that partnerships between citizen science organizations and schools have a broad range of impactful outcomes for STEM students and educators. We intend to share our experiences in experiential scientific education with the Massachusetts STEM community in order to inform educators and foster a new level of understanding and curiosity around research expeditions and collaboration opportunities.
Our intended audience is high school science educators with a strong desire to take their curricula out of the classroom and into the real world through similar partnerships with researchers. Experiences gained on Earthwatch expeditions can be directly applied to NGSS career development goals and aid in bringing a novel, experiential element to science lessons. In addition, students who join their teachers in the field through group expeditions are given a rare and unique opportunity to “try on” the career of a scientist through hands-on learning and one-on-one interactions with professional researchers.
Earthwatch is excited to be partnering with its first formal Massachuetts educational partner, Lincoln-Sudbury High School, as they join a team of climate change researchers on an expedition in the Andorran Pyrenees this summer. At the time of the STEM Summit, we will be positioned to present our findings on their experience and make recommendations to other Massachusetts educators.