Teaching Suggestions

Citizen Science

(Back to Slideshow Overview)


Citizen science involves everyday people in the process of scientific research and discovery. Using the facts and photos in this slideshow, explore this essential question:

Essential Question
How can citizens scientists contribute to scientific research and discovery?

Set the Stage for Learning

1. Preview the slideshow. Ask questions to assess prior knowledge:

  • What action words describe what scientists do? (observe, experiment, analyze, etc.)
  • What is citizen science?
  • What do citizen scientists do?
  • How can citizen scientists contribute to research and discovery?
Citizen Science Slideshow
2. Preview images in the photo gallery. On large chart paper, post the essential question: How can citizens scientists contribute to research and discovery? Have students make pre-reading predictions based on details they see in the photos.
photo gallery

3. Preview slideshow using the headings handout. Have students predict how the headings may be related to the slideshow title and essential question: How can citizens scientists contribute to research and discovery?


citizen science headings
Viewing the Slideshow

As a class, read through the pages of the slideshow together. Stop occasionally to spotlight key words and ideas or ask questions. Encourage students to share their own questions sparked by the information and images.

Optional printed booklet of slideshow can be copied and assembled for partner or at-home reading.

Revisit for Understanding

1. Mark up the text. Review the definition of citizen science and revisit the essential question: How can citizens scientists contribute to research and discovery? Have students reread the text-only version of the slideshow with a partner, underlining important ideas and circling key words. Challenge them to use the word cards to summarize main ideas and details.

2. Spark questions with a data hunt challenge. Work in small groups to explore data shared by citizen scientists. As students examine the data, encourage them to ask questions and share discoveries. Challenge each group to share how they would showcase the data on a map of North America. As students experience the excitement of discovery, help them reflect on how citizen science expands the possibilities for research.

word cards

Data cards

Wrap Up

Assess understanding and encourage reflective thinking with questions like these:

  • Why is the protocol for the test garden experiment so important? (control variables, reliable data for comparison studies)
  • When we report to Journey North, how can we make sure that our garden observations and data are useful? (importance of detailed, accurate reports for reliable data)
  • Why is it is it valuable to conduct a long-term study? (trends over time, possibilities for comparison studies)
  • How can citizen science expand the possibilities for research? (quantity of data from many locations)
Helpful Handouts
Tulip Test Gardens: Observations to Report   Take-home Letter Worksheet: Citizen Science Sightings Reports
What to Report  

Take-home Letter

Reading Reports from
Citizen Scientists

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