Citizen Science: 15 Lessons that Bring Biology to Life

Our curriculum book will help you teach through citizen science!

book coverThe goal of our new book is simple: to inspire you to engage your students through citizen science, thereby connecting students with relevant, meaningful, and real science experiences. Citizen science can support independent inquiry as well as learning both content and process skills. In this new book, published by NSTA Press, we illustrate the power of citizen science through case studies of middle school classes and also provide 15 lessons so educators can build data collection and analysis into their science teaching.

The lessons were collected via a nation-wide competition we held, so the projects represented are diverse (from plants to whales to butterflies to birds).  They follow the 5E Instructional Model to move students from engagement and exploration through explaination, elaboration, and evaluation. This process gives students experience WetlandInvestigation_Savannah River Sitewith the full range of science practices outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). You can use the lessons with or without access to field or lab facilities; whether or not your students can collect and submit data of their own; and inside your classroom or outside through fieldwork in school yards, parks, or other natural areas in urban or rural settings.

You can download a PDF that includes a sample lesson, “Bird Migration Patterns in my Area.”

BoysWithBinocs_ USFWS Mountain Prairie“Observing the life cycle of monarch butterflies and following their remarkable migratory journeys between Canada, the United States, and Mexico …

“Tracking climate change by recording the dates of first leaf, flower, and fruit of local trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses …

“Discovering which bird species migrate, where they go, and when …

“Exploring life cycles and population dynamics of frogs, toads, and other animals in nearby ponds …

“Citizen-science projects such as these gather data through public collaboration in scientific research….We invite you to dig in and become part of this exciting and rapidly growing movement. Your students will not only learn science, but they will also be scientists, and their projects will bring biological and environmental science to life in your classes.”

—from the Preface to Citizen Science: 15 Lessons That Bring Biology to Life, 6–12

The book is available for $29.95 in our store. You can also see e-book ordering information at NSTA Press.


  1. Pingback: Birds of a Feather: Next Generation Science Standards and Citizen Science : Cornell Lab of Ornithology: BirdSleuth K-12

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  3. Pingback: Citizen Science in your Outdoor Classroom : Cornell Lab of Ornithology: BirdSleuth K-12

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