The overarching goal of the Students Discover project is to use the pathway of Citizen Science to improve STEM education in middle school by developing a model for engaging students in doing real science and inspiring teachers through mentorships with practicing scientists. Real research experiences are key to educational development of students. Funded by the National Science Foundation, Students Discover builds on existing citizen science projects developed in collaboration between the Department of Biology at NC State University and the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
As one of seven partner organizations involved in the Students Discover project, the Friday Institute’s role is to examine a process for moving collaborations between scientists and teachers and the resulting citizen science projects from the ideal “greenhouse” settings in which they are piloted to a variety of schools and community-based settings where conditions for success may be less favorable. Our scale research identifies contextual variations where the citizen science projects are implemented and examines processes for evolving the design of projects to increase their effectiveness under varying circumstances. For the original project announcement and additional links, visit news.ncsu.edu/2013/09/wms-citizen-science-grant-2013.