This fall, students everywhere were treated to a citizen science virtual field trip organized by Discovery Education and the Girl Scouts of the USA. “Unleash Your Inner Scientist,” the title of virtual field trip, featured SciStarter’s Founder, Darlene Cavalier, and was filmed on location at the 92-acre STEM Center of Excellence in Dallas, Texas. No worries if you missed it when it originally aired because the full-length virtual field trip video is available for you to explore at your convenience.(Video versión en Español, aquí). The virtual field trip and associated resources can be integrated in both formal and informal educational settings. Not only can the field trip can help introduce learners to citizen science opportunities, but it can also inspire learners to engage in authentic science all year long!
The girl-led citizen science virtual field trip kicked off on October 18th and helped to launch the national “Girls Get STEM” initiative which encourages young learners to pursue STEM careers in support of the next generation of STEM leaders. During the field trip, learners explored citizen science projects, engaged in the process of authentic science, and learned how science can help build a better world. The premiere event also included a live Twitter chat (using the hashtag #CitizenScientistVFT), and SciStarter joined in the chat along with Discovery Education, the Girl Scouts, and classrooms across the country!
Citizen science projects from the SciStarter Project Finder were featured in the virtual field trip experience. Projects featured in the virtual field trip video included: ZomBee Watch, NASA Globe Observer (GO) Clouds, and Stream Selfie, three of 10 projects offered through the Girl Scouts Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey , described below:
Learn about ZomBee Watch:
Learn about NASA GO Clouds:
Learn about Stream Selfie:
During the Twitter chat with Discovery Education, the Girl Scouts, and SciStarter, participants were asked to think about ways to stay engaged in citizen science after the field trip.
Participants shared excellent, creative, and diverse ideas. Many mentioned interest in trying the citizen science projects featured in the field trip video. SciStarter invites everyone to extend the virtual field trip by exploring and engaging in projects of interest to you. In addition to the Project Finder, SciStarter also developed the “Think Like a Citizen Scientist” resource that shares recommended projects tailored for Girl Scouts and other young explorers!
On the heels of the first ever girl-led citizen science virtual field trip, a timely report related to learning and citizen science was released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (You can access the full report from the National Academies Press, here). The report, coauthored by Cavalier, concludes that citizen science can be an effective and impactful way to support learning goals, promote engagement in science, and cultivate scientific literacy across diverse audiences. You can view the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine video overview designed to summarize the report findings, below:
Citizen science provides a meaningful method to engage learners in authentic science and it inspires action in classrooms and across communities.
We invite everyone to view the virtual field trip video, explore citizen science projects, and get involved in projects that interest you! In closing, we’d like to share a reflection from one of the citizen science virtual field trip participants, a young scientist, in her own words: “Girls can be amazing and powerful if you put the power in the right hands.” Thank you to all who are making a positive difference in the world through citizen science!