“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.
Level One Activities (All Required)
- What is citizen science? Watch these two TED talks and write a 250 word summary and response for each, making sure to cite your sources, to use direct quotes and paraphrases from each, and to use the videos to help you articulate your own explanation of citizen science. Please see “Writing an Effective Summary” and “Paraphrasing and Directly Quoting.”
- Find and plan to participate in a citizen science program. There are opportunities online.
Level Two Activities (All Required)
- Write up a one-page, single-spaced research plan for what phenomenon you will investigate, where and how you will collect data, why this data is important, how it will be use, what organization(s) you will be working with and why you chose that organization. Make a timeline of specific dates, times, and activities. Use section headers in your document such as: Project Description, Background, Significance, Data Collection, Data Analysis, Timeline. STOP HERE: Have your plan approved by your instructor before beginning.
- Collect data (pictures, sketches, recordings, reflections, artifacts, etc.) according to the guidelines for your project and keep a field journal for two-three weeks. Read this guide carefully and use it to help you develop your own person field journal. You will take good quality photos of your field journal for digital submission.
Level Three Activities (All Required)
- Read at least three different science blogs. Here is a list with some examples. You can also check out Chris Goforth’s insect blog; she’s a citizen scientist with a strong social media presence and The Nature Conservancy’s blog. Write a blog analysis of 500 words. First, state which blogs you have read, which ones you liked the best and why. Select one blog example and answer the following questions:
- Who is the audience for this blog? Be as specific as you can. Describe the demographics and psychographics (age, education, where they live, what they care about—interests, values, concerns)
- How do you know who the audience is? What are the clues in the way the text is written that tells you?
- What is the purpose of the blog? What does the author want us to do/think/feel?
- What can you tell about the author of the blog from the blog itself? What kind of person is this? Is this someone you’d like to meet? How do they talk?
- What do you notice about the arrangement/structure of the blog? What information comes first, what comes last? How long are the paragraphs? Sentences?
- Create a design plan for a 750-1000 word blog post about your research project. Your blog post is meant to inform a lay audience about your project and its impact and importance. It should include images, sketches, graphs, and language that clearly explains your project, your research findings, and interests others in taking part in this or other citizen science initiatives. STOP HERE: Share your design plan with your instructor for feedback.
- Draft your blog post.
- Have two peers provide holistic and specific feedback to your post using comments in Google Docs.
- Revise your blog post according to your 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. Describe the rhetorical choices you made in your research and writing, and discuss the effectiveness of your composition.
Required evidence for to submit in Google Folders for this pathway:
Summary and Responses What is Citizen Science?
- Field Research Plan
- Field Research Journal (high-quality photos of each page)
- Blog Analysis
- Blog Post Design Plan
- Blog Post
- Peer Review Comments
- Blog Post Revisions (in same document as draft)
- Metacognitive Reflection