Science is all around us. Scientific research sounds formal and a little confusing, but kids can be a part of scientific research, too. Scientists today are able to collect more information than they can often analyze quickly. So, they have turned to 'citizen scientists'. These "citizen scientists" participate in collecting information or identifying objects, irregularities, or animals in an image. Below are a select number of kid-friendly citizen science projects that can be completed on a desktop computer or smart phone!
Cedar Creek: Eyes on the Wild
This project is from a world-famous biological field station in the midwestern United States called the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. The station has cameras throughout the reserve to learn more about the daily life and patterns of the animals that live there. For this project, you look at image and identify any animals and what they are doing in the image. It's a fun and quick way to get some scientific research done together!
Stall Catchers is a project by scientists at Cornell University that are seeking a cure to Alzheimer's, a disease that destroys memory and other essential brain functions. For this project, citizen scientists look at videos of the brains of mice to identify stalls in them. Stall Catchers teaches you how to identify them, so you can go through the videos and help get to a cure for Alzheimer's faster.
ZLS' Instant Wild allows citizen scientists to help with conservation efforts all over the globe. From Malaysia to Kenya to Costa Rica, Instant Wild has lots of video and images for young citizen scientists to sort through and identify animals. These efforts help scientists track the populations of animals to support their growth.
Citizen science helps bridge the gaps and increase the scope of scientific research today. You can find more projects to become a part of at SciStarter, a non-profit that seeks to connect citizens of all ages with projects all over the globe. If you'd rather do hands-on exploration, check out some of the books and eSources below to learn about science and discover at-home, kid-friendly science projects.
You can find even more books in our catalog. Remember, science is everywhere!