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Student-led Community Science: A Curriculum

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Curriculum Overview

This project utilizes four phases and a problem-based learning approach to allow students to progress from problem identification to sharing their story with the community.

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Project Details

Over the course of this curriculum, students will participate in a hands-on, locally-situated environmental science workshop series as they explore challenges facing their community. This project is unique because it centers students as knowledge producers, rather than knowledge consumers, on a path toward becoming scientifically literate citizens. Students lead the research project with support from their teacher rather than being led through a predetermined rubric. As a team, students undertake problem identification, study design, data collection and analysis, and sharing results back to their community. Throughout the project, students will utilize Public Lab to connect to a larger network of community scientists, experts, and locals working in their field.


Phase I: Identifying & Learning About Environmental Problems

Phase II: Exploring & Defining Research Methods

Additional Resources:

Phase III: Data Collection - Data Collection Resources

Phase IV: Compiling & Sharing Results

Also check out the Education Wiki to see more projects, lessons, and discussion.

How Can Student-Led Inquiry Change Your Classroom?

Today's students have unprecedented access to knowledge; the phones in their pockets all them to tap into the internet anytime, and the the internet updates that knowledge every moment as we speak. As knowledge expands at a rate that's hard for teachers to keep up with, and textbooks are out-of-date by the time they go to press, classrooms must shift from a place where teachers and textbooks are the repositories of knowledge to a place where teachers define an overarching curriculum and guide students through a process to fill it in.

This environmental science experiential learning workshop series engages students in localized environmental exploration, from idea generation through sharing findings, while working together in scalable networks to encourage collaborative learning and civic engagement. It sharpens environmental and STEM literacy through deep, hands-on investigation of an environmental topic -- including observation and data-gathering, listening to community histories of living through environmental stressors, and reflection on environmental impacts to community resilience. Through our problem-based learning approach, students are able to hone their research and critical thinking skills while contributing to "real-world" problems.

Project Updates

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