Science Communicator

science communicator badge

“Ignorance of science threatens our economic well-being, our national security, and the democratic process. We must do better.”– Carl Sagan

Many of the big decisions we face as a society require us to have knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes; yet many of us think science is something done only by experts or the professionals. For this badging pathway, you will explore citizen science, participate in a citizen science program, and practice your hand at communicating public science.

This is a research-intensive badge.

If you enjoy this badge, consider signing up for WRT 334: Science Writing in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric.

Level One Activities (All Required)

  • What is citizen science? Watch these two TED talks and write a 200-word summary of each one. Make sure to cite each source.
  • Write a 300-word response to the following: What is citizen science? Why does it matter? How might more understanding of and participation in citizen science be beneficial to our us, our communities, our world? Integrate material from each TED Talk to help you support your claims, and make sure to cite your sources according to MLA format in both in-text and in a works cited list. Please see “Paraphrasing and Directly Quoting” for more information.
  • Find and plan to participate in a citizen science program. There are many opportunities online. Choose an organization to partner with. Decide when and how you will collect data. Note any questions you have about the project and get permission from your instructor before moving forward.

stop_sign      SHARE AND DISCUSS YOUR SCICOM PLANS WITH INSTRUCTOR.       stop_sign

Level Two Activities (All Required)

  • Create a double-entry field journal of your findings. Set up your notebook so that each page becomes a double-entry space for recording observations and ruminations. Each page should have one column titled “Observations” or “What  I observed” and another titled “Ruminations” or “What I think and feel about the observations.” Each entry should include the following:
    • Specific location
    • Date
    • Time
    • Weather conditions (if applicable),
    • Illustrations or photographs of what you observed
  • You need a substantial amount of linguistic and visual data (either different sites, different collection times, or phenomena that you are observing) to draw meaningful conclusions, so plan to put time and effort into this field journal. Collect data (pictures, sketches, recordings, reflections, artifacts, etc.) according to the guidelines for your SciCom project and make the double-entry field journal.
  • Create a plan for your SciCom blog post. Answer the following:
    • What audience will you address in your blog post (state demographics and psychographics)? Be specific. Elaborate.
    • What is your purpose—what do you want people to know, do, feel, see, understand after they read your blog?
    • How will you address the audience in a way that will appeal to them? Think of word choice, tone, sentence and paragraph length, subheads, bulleted lists, boldface. What title will you give the blog that draws readers in? How can your make your first paragraph draw readers in?
    • Conduct library research. Find 3-5 credible, reliable sources from the library on your citizen science topic. Create an annotated bibliography. Each entry MUST BE IN MLA FORMAT and must include all of the following:
      • A one-sentence summary of the source (use summary guidelines in Resources)
      • An evaluation of the source (use the CRAAP test).  You must state why the source is credible, timely,  and accurate.
      • A statement of how this source will enrich your audience’s understanding of this science.

Level Three Activities (All Required)

  • Read these science blogs: Cool Green Science and Your Wild Life.  Complete the Citizen Science Blog Analysis Chart.
  • Using the citizen science blog post examples above, your field notes, and your library research, draft a 750-1000 word blog post about your research project. Use attributive tags and an MLA Works Cited list to credit your library research sources.

stop_sign GET A PEER REVIEW AND INSTRUCTOR FEEDBACK OF YOUR DRAFT.stop_sign

  • Revise your blog post according to your peer and instructor feedback.
  • Write a metacognitive reflection about the what you learned in this pathway through participating in a citizen science project and writing that work up for a public audience.

Required evidence for to submit in Google Folders for this pathway:

Level 1

  • Summaries of two TED TALKS (GDoc)
  • Citizen science response (GDoc)

Level 2

  • Substantial field research journal (digital or high-quality photos of each page)
  • Blog post plan (GDoc)

Level 3

  • Blog Analysis Chart (GDoc)
  • Draft blog post (GDoc)
  • Peer Review Recording (audio or video)
  • Blog post revisions (in same document as draft—address and resolve all comments)
  • Metacognitive reflection
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