Citizen Science Travel Programs for STEM Career Exploration and Educator 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 means of fostering broad scientific understanding while supporting and celebrating researchers in the fields of conservation, climate science, ocean health, and archaeology. Over the last five years, we have redoubled our efforts in helping teachers prepare their students for lifelong careers in STEM fields and to stimulate scientific thinking and curiosity in general. Through collaboration with various educational partners throughout the US, including Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School and Northeastern University, we have helped hundreds of students explore science as a profession and a passion through hands-on experiential learning. In addition, hundreds of teachers to date have learned new skill sets in field research and experiential education through our Teach Earth and Kindle funded fellowships.
Experiences gained on Earthwatch expeditions and through fellowships can be directly applied to NGSS career development goals and aid in bringing an innovative, immersive element to science curricula. Students who participate in teen expeditions or 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.
We intend to share our expertise and recommendations 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. High school teachers, superintendents, and collegiate service travel organizers are especially encouraged to visit.