Professors Carie Green of the Department of Education Foundations at Idaho State University and William Medina-Jerez of the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Texas–El Paso co-authored an article on the use of the Center’s Project Citizen in the teaching of science.
The article, “Project Citizen: Promoting Action-Oriented Citizen Science in the Classroom,” appeared in the December 2012 edition of The Science Teacher, a publication of the National Science Teachers Association. It shows “the multidisciplinary Project Citizen approach to teaching and learning science and engaging students in action-oriented citizen science.”
The authors say that “Project Citizen teaches students to research and understand the positions of various stakeholders who may have diverse viewpoints on an issue. Ultimately, students come to their own conclusions and approaches to solving the problem. Students can address controversial issues such as the loss of jobs versus the enforcement of environmental regulations. Teachers can guide students to prevent tensions between local residents and organizations and companies that support the local economy.”
Green and her colleagues observe that “Project Citizen teaches students that community problems are complex and the solutions do not always please everyone. The goal is to devise solutions that take all shareholders’ interests into account. Project Citizen’s success is partially due to its student-centered nature, so teachers should encourage student ownership from the very beginning.”
They show how Project Citizen aligns with the best practices described in A Framework for K–12 Science Education (National Research Council 2012) and how it addresses both the Science as Inquiry and the Science in Personal and Social Perspectives National Science Education Standards (NRC 1996).
The authors conclude that Project Citizen “expands on the notion of citizen science through coupling scientific inquiry with civic literacy to address real-world problems. It engages students in STEM learning and environmental activism. Students learn that it is possible for them to identify problems, approach the relevant regulatory agencies, and affect decision making in their community.”
The Science Teacher can be purchased from the NSTA’s website: http://learningcenter.nsta.org/browse_journals.aspx?journal=tst. Professor Carie Green can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. William Medina-Jerez can be reached at email@example.com.